Netanyahu suggests on Facebook that Biden fell asleep meeting new Israeli PM

2 minute read

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony to show appreciation to the health sector for their contribution to the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Jerusalem June 6, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

JERUSALEM, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Israel's former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in a Facebook video posted on Sunday that U.S. President Joe Biden had fallen asleep when meeting the new Israeli leader Naftali Bennett last month.

A Reuters fact check previously debunked the idea that Biden dozed off, after social media users shared a video clip of the U.S. president that they said showed him looking down and nodding off as Bennett spoke in the Oval Office.

The clip that was shared around was misleadingly cropped, according to the Reuters fact check. Seconds after the clip was cut, longer footage showed Biden responded to Bennett.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

In a video Netanyahu posted on his Facebook page on Sunday, an off-camera voice says: "You know, Bennett met with Biden."

"I heard. I heard that Biden was very attentive at this meeting. He dropped his head in agreement," Netanyahu replied, letting his own head fall in a swift motion, as if to mimic someone falling asleep.

Netanyahu, 71, and head of the right-wing Likud party, was largely in lockstep with the Middle East policies of Democrat Biden's Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.

Netanyahu's reference to the Biden meeting was a brief segment in a nearly 26-minute video that touched on a variety of political issues. But it drew headlines on Israeli news websites, several of which accused Netanyahu of mocking Biden.

In June, a new government of left-wing, centrist, right-wing and Arab parties led by Bennett replaced Netanyahu's administration, ending the conservative politician's 12-year run as Israel's longest-serving leader.

Now in opposition, Netanyahu has promised to govern again.

(This story corrects to remove typographical error in first paragraph.)

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Edmund Blair

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.