The use of national law to “oppress and discriminate” against parts of the population is a “sign of the rise of totalitarian regimes,” said head of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh, on Sunday, January 29. MK Odeh (Hadash), the head of the third-largest faction in Israel’s Knesset, was responding to the executive order issued by far-right US President Donald Trump barring all citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the United States.
“I am moved and proud to see large numbers of Americans taking to the streets against Islamophobia and racism,” Odeh added. “Pouring out into the streets together, without differentiating between race and ethnicity, is the hope for the future, both in the US and here,” Odeh said.
Israeli ministers maintained complete silence over Trump’s executive order. While a number of cabinet members offered reasons as to why they preferred not to respond, why they felt it would be inappropriate to do so, every single one of the 22 ministers either declined or did not acknowledge repeated requests from The Times of Israel to comment on the issue. President Reuven Rivlin, known for his inclusive message toward the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel repeated having said that “we are not at war with Islam,” also declined to comment. “Opposition” leader Labor MK Isaac Herzog, who heads the Zionist Union, along with Yesh Atid party chair MK Yair Lapid, joined cabinet ministers in declining to comment on the ban. A spokesperson for Lapid said he did “not get involved in internal US issues.”
Israel’s ambassador to Mexico, Jonathan Peled, was summoned for a dressing down by Mexican officials on Monday in the wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support for President Trump’s executive order to begin massive construction of a border wall between Mexico and the US. Earlier Saturday, Netanyahu praised Trump for his plan to build a security barrier. Referring to the recently built fence along Israel’s border with Egypt, the prime minister said the measure had been a “great success” in keeping out asylum seekers and refugees, who mainly came from African nations. “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” Netanyahu wrote in English on Twitter, Trump’s preferred method of communication.
Mexican officials phoned the prime minister’s office and angrily demanded a clarification, the Haaretz daily reported on Saturday night. Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a communique that it had expressed to Israel’s ambassador its “profound surprise, rejection and disappointment at the prime minister’s message on Twitter. Mexico is Israel’s friend and should be treated as such.”