All Israeli ministers keep silent on Trump’s Muslim entry curbs
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All Israeli ministers keep silent on Trump’s Muslim entry curbs

Meretz and Joint List party chairs are the only political leaders to comment on order closing US to citizens of 7 countries

Raoul Wootliff covers politics, corruption and crime for The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) arrives to chair the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 29, 2017 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / ABIR SULTAN)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) arrives to chair the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 29, 2017 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / ABIR SULTAN)

As President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending refugee arrivals and barring visas for travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries continued to send shock waves across the US, Europe and Middle East Sunday, Israeli ministers maintained complete silence over the move.

While a number of cabinet members offered reasons as to why they preferred not to respond, or 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 Israel’s Arab-Israeli population and repeated dictum that “we are not at war with Islam,” also declined a request to comment.

Barring a tweet from the left-wing Meretz party leader and a short statement by the Joint (Arab) List chair, there was also no response from the heads of the major opposition parties. They, too, declined requests from The Times of Israel to make statements.

US President Donald Trump signs an executive memorandum on defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House on January 28, 2017, in Washington, DC. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)
US President Donald Trump signs an executive memorandum on defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House on January 28, 2017, in Washington, DC. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)

In contrast, Trump’s order, announced on Saturday, was met with near-immediate condemnation from world leaders across the globe, with presidents, prime ministers and senior government members from the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Turkey, Iran and a host of other countries panning the initiative.

While ignoring the sweeping order to suspend refugee arrivals and bar visas for travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did praise Trump’s push for a border wall with Mexico, saying that Israel’s fence on the Egyptian border had successfully stemmed illegal immigration.

“President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter on Saturday night.

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