MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government rebuked Israel on Saturday for a tweet by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that appeared to applaud U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to build a border wall with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.
Netanyahu said on Twitter earlier on Saturday: “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”
The comment was swiftly rejected by leaders of the Jewish community in Mexico, and prompted an unusually blunt statement from Mexico’s foreign ministry.
Mexico’s government and Trump have been locked in a bitter dispute over his election campaign promise to build a wall on the U.S. southern border that he says Mexico will pay for. Mexico has repeatedly said it will not pay for the wall.
The Central Committee of the Jewish Community in Mexico issued a statement saying it “forcefully rejected” Netanyahu’s comment, while several prominent Mexicans of Jewish origin sharply criticized the Israeli leader on Twitter.
“So you like walls @netanyahu? Here you have a couple of nice designs,” said Mony de Swaan, a former head of the Mexican telecommunications regulator, posting images of walls commemorating Bergen-Belsen, the Nazi concentration camp where diarist Anne Frank died, and the Warsaw Ghetto.
On Thursday, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a visit to meet Trump next week after the American advised him to forgo the trip if he was not willing to pay for the wall.