PM’s office airbrushes Netanyahu’s ‘Yeltsin’ gaffe

PM’s office airbrushes Netanyahu’s ‘Yeltsin’ gaffe

Video of remarks, in which PM confuses Boris Johnson with Boris Yeltsin, clumsily edited to correct mistake

Russian President Boris Yeltsin welcomes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow, Tuesday March 11, 1997.  . (AP PHOTO/ TASS-POOL)
Russian President Boris Yeltsin welcomes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow, Tuesday March 11, 1997. . (AP PHOTO/ TASS-POOL)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Sunday released a video that clumsily tries to edit out a gaffe where he calls the British prime minister the wrong name.

Netanyahu misspoke at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting, referring to his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, as Boris Yeltsin, the former Russian president who died in 2007. Cabinet ministers immediately corrected his error.

“Boris Johnson,” Netanyahu corrected himself, and with a grin, said he was just checking to see if everyone was paying attention, drawing polite chuckles.

But an official video of the meeting released hours later suddenly cuts away from Netanyahu at the moment he says Yeltsin — instead he’s heard saying “Boris Johnson.”

The gaffe comes as Netanyahu fights for his survival ahead of next week’s re-do election. His campaign has branded the long-serving leader as a veteran statesman with close relations with world leaders.

Netanyahu flew to London last Thursday where he met with Johnson for half an hour. Johnson is busy with overseeing his country’s exit from the European Union despite opposition from parliament, and even within his own cabinet.

Yelstin was Russian president during the 1990s when Netanyahu first became prime minister of Israel in 1996. The two met in Moscow in 1997.

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