TEL AVIV, June 5 (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed a new media adviser who has criticized President Joe Biden on Twitter, Haaretz reported.
The appointment comes at a time of strained U.S.-Israeli relations.
Gilad Zwick, a journalist for a conservative Israeli TV station, called Biden “unfit” to govern in his tweets and said he was “destroying America, slowly but steadily.”
He also tweeted that he supported President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 US election was rigged. At least one earlier tweet was deleted later in the day.
Zwick did not respond to a request for comment, but tweeted in English on Monday that he was a private citizen when he wrote the post about Biden.
“I do not hold those views today and I will act in a completely professional manner in the Prime Minister’s Office,” he said.
Zwick previously worked for the pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom. Netanyahu’s office declined to comment.
Zwick’s appointment comes at a time when relations between Israel and its closest ally, the United States, have been fraught with controversy over the Israeli government’s controversial plans to reform the judiciary and the ultra-nationalist nature of the government.
Biden has publicly expressed concern about the Netanyahu government’s plan to reshape the legal system, which has sparked massive protests that have continued weekly even after the plan was shelved.
The Biden administration has also expressed unease with Netanyahu’s government, which is made up of ultra-nationalists who were once on the fringes of Israeli politics and now hold senior positions dealing with Palestinians and other sensitive issues.
Amid the tensions, Biden has so far rejected the usual and customary invitations Netanyahu extended to the White House after winning the election late last year.
Critics accuse Netanyahu of gradually turning Israel from a bipartisan issue to a wedge issue in U.S. politics. They point to his apparent support for Republican candidates and his 2015 speech to Congress, which was seen as a slight to the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu said Israel’s relationship with the United States was unbreakable and downplayed any differences as differences between friends.
Last month, Israel’s Knesset hosted US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who became only the second House speaker to address the Knesset after Republican Newt Gingrich in 1998. (Associated Press)
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