Thursday President Trump publicly pressured Israel to block Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from entering the country, amid reports that the government was poised to do so despite prior assurances they’d be allowed in.
“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”
Israeli media reported earlier on discussions of barring the freshman congresswomen due to their support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Reports said Israeli Interior Minister Arye Deri has already made the decision to block them, though a formal decision and announcement have yet to be made as other parties weigh in.
Israeli law says those supporting boycotts of the country may be denied entry. Waivers can be granted for diplomatic figures, however, Haaretz reported.
In July, Israel’s U.S. ambassador said the country would not bar U.S. lawmakers out of “respect” for Congress and Israel’s longtime “alliance” with the U.S. Trump expressed frustration about the decision last week, The Washington Post reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced pressure from Democratic leaders and some U.S.-based Israel advocacy groups that were advising against barring the congresswomen, the Post reported.
The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday that Netanyahu met Wednesday with Deri, Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, National Security Council leader Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to discuss the matter.
“The possibility exists that Israel will not allow the visit in its current form,” the officials said at the time, adding, “Professional and legal teams from the government minister [were] continuing to study the materials.” The officials reportedly noted that the decision was ultimately up to the Interior Minister.
The Ministry of the Interior did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
On Thursday, Israeli Channel 13’s Barak Ravid reported that, according to officials, Netanyahu had been considering allowing Tlaib and Omar to enter Israel, but only to travel within the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
Another official reportedly said that Tlaib would be allowed to visit family in the West Bank if she filed a humanitarian request.
Tlaib and Omar were scheduled to arrive in Israel on Friday. Ravid reported for Axios that Israel was worried that the congresswomen would visit the Temple Mount – the holiest site for Jews and third holiest for Muslims – along with Palestinian Authority officials.