Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweets like President Trump, 'Great idea!'

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't just appreciate Donald Trump's politics. He is starting to sound like him on Twitter.

Over the past year, Netanyahu has increasingly taken to social media to make policy statements. He also uses it to deride the Israeli media for its reporting on him.

"It's fun. I enjoy it," he told the foreign media at a gathering last month. While he fully supported press freedom and the right to criticize, he added: "Guess what? We should have the freedom to criticize them, and that's what I do on occasion. And it's a lot of fun."

In recent weeks, in the build up to Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration and in the days since, some of Netanyahu's posts have adopted the president's unmistakable rat-a-tat syntax.

RELATED: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

12 PHOTOS
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
See Gallery
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 22, 2017. / AFP / POOL / RONEN ZVULUN (Photo credit should read RONEN ZVULUN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: (L to R) Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama during a bilateral meeting at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, September 21, 2016 in New York City. Last week, Israel and the United States agreed to a $38 billion, 10-year aid package for Israel. Obama is expected to discuss the need for a 'two-state solution' for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Pool Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22: Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 22, 2016 in New York City. According to the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, the most pressing matter to be discussed at the General Assembly is the world's refugee crisis. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 18: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference on November 18, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Netanyahu said incitement by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad led to a terrorist attack in a Jerusalem synagogue, which killed four worshippers and wounded several others. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JUNE 02: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Military Secretary Eyal Zamir during the weekly cabinet meeting in his office on June 2, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Sebastian Scheiner - Pool/Getty Images)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the press in the southern Israeli port of Eilat, on March 10, 2014, as Israel displayed advanced rockets type M-302 capable of reaching distances of up to 200 km that were unloaded from the Panamanian-flagged Klos-C vessel on March 9, 2014 in the southern Israeli port of Eilat. The vessel, which was allegedly transporting arms from Iran to Gaza, was escorted into the port of Eilat after Israeli naval commandos seized it on March 5, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JANUARY 22: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touches the Western Wall, Judaism holiest site, on January 22, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. The latest opinion polls suggest that current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will return to office, albeit with a reduced majority. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JANUARY 22: (ISRAEL OUT) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his ballot at a polling station on election day on January 22, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's general election voting has begun today as polls show Netanyahu is expected to return to office with a narrow majority. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
SDE BOKER, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 20: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres attend the annual memorial ceremony for David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, in Sde Boker on November 20, 2012 in southern Israel. Hamas militants and Israel are continuing talks aimed at a ceasefire as the death toll in Gaza reaches over 100 with three Israelis also having been killed by rockets fired by Palestinian militants. (Photo by Dan Balilty - Pool /Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, delivers an address to the 66th General Assembly Session at the United Nations on September 23, 2011 in New York City. The annual event, which is being dominated this year by the Palestinian's bid for full membership, gathers more than 100 heads of state and government for high level meetings on nuclear safety, regional conflicts, health and nutrition and environment issues. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - APRIL 10: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his offices on April 10, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. Both Israel and Hamas have expressed a willingness to call a truce to cross-border violence that in the past few days has claimed at least 19 Palestinian lives in retaliatory Israeli air strikes. (Photo by Jim Hollander - Pool/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea," Netanyahu tweeted on Jan. 28, posting pictures of the U.S. and Israeli flags next to each other.

Trump retweeted it to his 23 million followers, contributing to it getting far more attention than Netanyahu's tweets normally do: 53,000 retweets and more than 100,000 likes.

The ramping-up of Netanyahu's presence on Twitter and Facebook has largely taken place since he appointed a new English-language spokesman in early 2016 - American-born David Keyes, who has a background in online video campaigns.

"He speaks directly to the people and can bypass the often deeply biased traditional media," Keyes said last month. "The prime minister's innovative use of social media is making Israel accessible and understood to countless people around the globe."

The 67-year-old prime minister also employs a 24-year-old, Topaz Luk, as director of social media strategy.

The right-wing Israeli leader has dreamed of a Republican in the White House throughout his four terms in office, including three awkward years with Bill Clinton and eight years of dust-ups with Barack Obama. Obama's term ended with Netanyahu using Twitter to accuse the outgoing president of secretly backing an anti-Israel U.N. resolution.

Trump has promised to carry out policies that Netanyahu has long sought, such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, rethinking a nuclear accord with Iran and keeping quiet while Israel builds more settlements. The two men will meet in Washington on Feb. 15.

TROUBLE

Netanyahu's critics say social media can cause trouble when posts are misunderstood.

In the case of his tweet about Trump and walls, it prompted a formal protest by the Mexican government, which saw Netanyahu as taking sides on a bilateral issue by supporting Trump's plan to build a wall on the U.S. southern border.

Netanyahu said he was not commenting on U.S.-Mexican relations or the wisdom of Trump's wall, simply responding to comments from Trump that praised Israel's own wall-building.

Trump may have been referring to the concrete-and-steel barrier Israel has built along and inside the occupied West Bank, which Israel refuses to call a "wall" at all, and which Palestinians regard as an illegal land grab.

RELATED: Life inside Israeli settlements

34 PHOTOS
Life inside Israeli settlements
See Gallery
Life inside Israeli settlements
A Jewish man covered in a prayer shawl, prays in the Jewish settler outpost of Amona in the West Bank December 18, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Israeli teenagers rest in a tent as they prepare for an expected eviction of the Jewish settlement outpost of Amona in the West Bank, December 9, 2016 REUTERS/Amir Cohen
A construction site is seen in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, in the occupied West Bank December 22, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Houses are seen in the Jewish settlement of Har Gilo, in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Israeli soldiers are seen next to a bus stop covered with posters from the Israeli branch of the U.S. Republican party campaign in favour of Donald Trump, near the West Bank Jewish Settlement of Ariel October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Palestinian labourer works at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat, in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Houses in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev are seen from the Israeli settlement of Givon Ha'hadasha (bottom), in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A general view shows a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat, in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Israeli youths build a wooden structure in the Jewish settler outpost of Amona, in the West Bank November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Palestinian labourers work at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat, in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Students do pull-ups as they train at the Bnei David academy, the first religious military prep school and Jewish seminary, in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Eli, south of Nablus, January 31, 2016. Picture taken on January 31, 2016. To match Special Report ISRAEL-MILITARY/RELIGION REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
A Palestinian labourer walks at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat, in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A man pushes a shopping cart outside Shufersal, Israel's largest supermarket chain, in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Mishor Adumim near Jerusalem May 5, 2013. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/Files Photo
A Palestinian labourer works at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat, in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Houses are seen in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev (bottom) with the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the backgraund, in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A worker walks on scaffoldings in a construction site at the Israeli settlement of Har Homa, in the occupied West Bank December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A general view shows a Star of David near buildings in the Israeli settlement of Maale Edumim, in the occupied West Bank December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Israelis are seen near a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Ramat Shlomo, in the occupied West Bank December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A Palestinian labourer prays during his lunch break at Aluminum Construction, a factory located in the Industrial Park of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem, February 3, 2016. Picture taken February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
A construction worker labours on a building in the Israeli settlement of Maale Edumim, in the occupied West Bank December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Bulidings can be seen under construction in the Israeli settlement of Maale Edumim, in the occupied West Bank December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Bulidings under construction are seen in the Israeli settlement of Maale Edumim, in the occupied West Bank, December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A Palestinian man rides a donkey near the Israeli settlement of Maale Edumim, in the occupied West Bank, December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Israeli boys from the Ziv family play outside their home in the Jewish settler outpost of Amona in the West Bank, November 22, 2016. Picture taken November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim as the Palestinian village of Al-Eizariya is seen in the background May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
An Israeli boy looks through the sight of a weapon during a display of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) equipment and abilities at the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, April 23, 2015, during celebrations for Israel's Independence Day, marking the 67th anniversary of the creation of the state. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Elad Ziv prepares food in his home in the Jewish settler outpost of Amona in the West Bank, November 22, 2016. Picture taken November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Israeli youths push a water tank as they construct a temporary barrier in the Jewish settler outpost of Amona in the West Bank December 15, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Players from Israeli soccer clubs affiliated with Israel Football Association, Ariel Municipal Soccer Club and Maccabi HaSharon Netanya, play against each other at Ariel Municipal Soccer Club's training grounds in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel September 23, 2016. Picture taken September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Israeli youths use a tractor as they build wooden structures in the Jewish settler outpost of Amona, in the West Bank November 29, 2016. The sticker on the tractor in Hebrew reads:, "For the second time, Amona will not fall" REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Israeli teenagers walk on graffiti reading in Hebrew "Soldier, policeman, refuse orders" as they prepare for an expected eviction of the Jewish settlement outpost of Amona in the West Bank, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Palestinian labourers work at Aluminum Construction, a factory located in the Industrial Park of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem, February 3, 2016. Picture taken February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Israeli men stand next to a structure with Hebrew graffiti reading "over Judea and Samaria, there will be war" in the early morning in the Jewish settler outpost of Amona in the West Bank December 15, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The wall Netanyahu boasted about in his reply is a smaller, less controversial steel barrier on the border with Egypt largely designed to stop illegal migrants from Africa.

But whatever the source of the misunderstanding, Netanyahu knew who to blame.

"The left-wing media is engaged in a Bolshevik hunt, brainwashing and character assassination against me and my family," he said in Hebrew, before going on to invoke one of Trump's favorite phrases.

"It happens every day and night. They are producing about us a flood, there is no other word for it, a flood of fake news." (Editing by Peter Graff)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.