JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dropped US President Donald Trump from a banner photo on his Twitter account on Tuesday during an apparent break with a political ally facing possible impeachment.
A photo of Netanyahu sitting next to Trump at a White House meeting has long taken pride of place in the official @netanyahu account, a testament to the conservative Israeli leader’s close ties to the Republican president and his popularity in Israel.
Earlier Tuesday, another photo showing Netanyahu being injected with the coronavirus vaccine topped the page, along with the slogan for the Israeli inoculation campaign: “Citizens of Israel, we are back to life.”
Netanyahu had kept a photo of his meeting with Trump, long closed to him because of a tough policy on Iran and the Palestinians, on the site even after the defeat of Republican President Joe Biden in the November US election.
The photo was briefly replaced with a holiday-themed image in Hanukkah last month, sparking media speculation that Netanyahu had decided to distance himself from Trump.
But when the eight-day Jewish festival ended, Trump reappeared – though no longer alone with Netanyahu in the photo.
Instead, Netanyahu posted a banner on himself with the president and foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who signed a White House agreement in September to formalize ties with Israel.
Netanyahu’s website did not provide an explanation for Trump’s disappearance, a day before the US House of Representatives began considering their second impeachment since storming the Capitol last week.
Trump’s profile was permanently suspended by Twitter on Friday because of what the social media giant described as a risk of further incitement to violence.
In a television remark Thursday, Netanyahu called the events in the Capitol a “riot” and said he was confident that American democracy would prevail.
(Report by Jeffrey Heller; Edited by Raju Gopalakrishnan)