Former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Thursday said he regrets the phrasing of a tweet he wrote urging US President Joe Biden to call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but said he stands behind the message.
Danon also denied the move was coordinated with the prime minister.
On Wednesday Danon wrote on Twitter that Biden had called world leaders from 10 different countries, including longtime US allies Canada, the UK, France, and Germany.
He then suggested it may be now appropriate for Biden to call Netanyahu and even added a phone number that he said was Netanyahu’s. However, the number, which had once been used for the Prime Minister’s Office, was apparently out of date and no longer in service.
“I didn’t formulate the tweet, but I take responsibility for it,” Danon told Army Radio on Thursday. “The choice of words was not successful but I stand behind the message.”
“The tweet was not coordinated with the prime minister or his adversaries,” Danon said apparently referring to reports that he was trying to pressure Netanyahu due to internal politics and appointments within their Likud party.
Several hours before Danon’s tweet, Likud decided to remove him from his post as chairman of World Likud as of February 14, following an internal spat over the position that involved power struggles between major power brokers in the party.
@POTUS Joe Biden, you have called world leaders from#Canada#Mexico#UK#India#France#Germany#Japan#Australia#SouthKorea#Russia
Might it now be time to call the leader of #Israel, the closest ally of the #US?
The PM's number is: 972-2-6705555 pic.twitter.com/OYgPvVga6F
— Ambassador Danny Danon | דני דנון (@dannydanon) February 10, 2021
The Times of Israel’s sister site Zman Yisrael reported that some in Likud believe Danon issued the tweet to embarrass Netanyahu and spur him to appoint him to a new role to avoid further embarrassment.
Biden’s failure to call Netanyahu several weeks into his administration is seen by some as a snub. Biden has not yet called other US allies in the Middle East either.
Netanyahu had a close relationship with former US president Donald Trump and a famously acrimonious relationship with former President Barack Obama while Biden was vice president. However, he and Biden have had a good relationship for decades.
The Biden administration is expected to take a more conciliatory approach to Iran than the Trump White House, despite protestation from Israel and other US allies in the Middle East.