Israel’s Netanyahu appoints new media adviser, journalist who once called Biden ‘unfit’, report says

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed a new media adviser who has tweeted critically against President Joe Biden, the Haaretz daily reported.

The appointment comes at a time when US-Israeli relations are strained.

Gilad Zwick, a journalist with a conservative Israeli TV channel, in his tweets called Biden “unfit” to govern and said he was “slowly but surely destroying America”. He also posted tweets suggesting he supported President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 US election was rigged, the tweets were still online Monday.

Netanyahu’s office and Zwick did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Zwick previously worked for Israel Hayom, a pro-Netanyahu daily.

Zwick’s appointment comes as ties between Israel and its closest ally, the United States, are strained by a controversial Israeli government plan to overhaul the judiciary and by the ultranationalist nature of the government.

Biden has publicly expressed concern over the Netanyahu government’s plan to overhaul the justice system, which has sparked mass protests that continue every week even after the plan was suspended.

The Biden administration has also expressed unease with Netanyahu’s government, made up of ultra-nationalists who were once on the fringes of Israeli politics and now hold leadership positions dealing with Palestinians and other sensitive issues.

Amid tensions, Biden has so far refused Netanyahu a typically customary invitation to the White House after his election victory late last year.

Critics accuse Netanyahu of gradually shifting Israel from a bipartisan affair to a corner issue in US politics. They point out that he appears to openly support Republican candidates as well as his 2015 speech to Congress which was seen as an insult to the Obama administration over its nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu says Israel’s bond with the United States is unbreakable and downplays any break as a disagreement between friends.

Last month, Israel’s parliament hosted US President Kevin McCarthy, who became the second Speaker of the House to address the Knesset, following Republican Newt Gingrich in 1998.

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