Israeli President Reuven Rivlin reached out to his Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto Tuesday to mend ties over a tweet from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“President Trump is right,” Netanyahu tweeted Saturday night. “I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”
President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea ????????????????
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) January 28, 2017
Following the tweet, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry released a statement expressing its “deepest dismay, rejection and disappointment” with Netanyahu’s statement.
In his conversation with Peña Nieto, Rivlin praised the close ties between the Jewish state and Mexico and made it clear that there was no intentional comparison towards the security situation with Mexico.
“The security situation in Israel and in the Middle East pushed us to make the important decision of building a wall in our midst. We have no intention of comparing Israel’s security situation and needs with the situation of any of our worldwide allies,” Rivlin said.
Rivlin added that he regrets “any damage caused by this misunderstanding” and that he hoped to put the matter behind us.
Peña Nieto responded by thanking Rivlin for reaching out to discuss the issue and “the clarifications imparted during this correspondence will help our nations mend our ties, as I will make sure to pass your messages to the people,” he said.
Netanyahu also addressed the issue Tuesday at a cybersecurity conference, saying that “he did not comment about U.S.-Mexico relations. We’ve had, and will continue to have, good relations with Mexico.”