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Netanyahu appears to mock Biden for ‘falling asleep’ during meeting with Israel PM

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Former Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu mocked Joe Biden on Sunday as he repeated a previously debunked claim that the US president had dozed off during a meeting with new Israeli leader Naftali Bennett last month.

Mr Bennett became Israel’s new prime minister in June, ending the 12-year reign of Mr Netanyahu.

In the 26-minute video posted on Sunday on Mr Netanyahu’s Facebook page, an off-camera voice said: “You know, Bennett met with Biden.”

In response, Mr Netanyahu said: “I heard. I heard that Biden was very attentive at this meeting. He dropped his head in agreement.” He then let his head fall down to mimic a person dozing off.

The claim was earlier debunked by Reuters after a misleadingly edited clip started doing the rounds on social media. According to the news agency, the video had been falsely cropped. A longer footage of the interaction between Mr Biden and Mr Bennett showed the US president responding to his Israeli counterpart seconds after the edited video ended.

US president Joe Biden meets with Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett in the Oval Office at the White House on 27 August 2021 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)
US president Joe Biden meets with Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett in the Oval Office at the White House on 27 August 2021 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party responded to the criticism that followed his Facebook post and claimed that the former prime minister was mocking his successor and not the US president.

“Contrary to the distorted picture broadcast in the media, former prime minister Netanyahu did not criticise President Biden, whom he has known and cherished as a friend of Israel for 40 years,” the party said. “His criticism was directed exclusively at Naftali Bennett, who during his visit to the White House spoke at length about nothing.”

Mr Biden and Mr Bennett met on 27 August at the White House after their earlier scheduled meeting was delayed by a day due to a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport, which had killed 169 Afghans and 13 US troops.

Days after the meeting, a member of the Likud Party had tweeted an edited video on social media, insinuating that Mr Biden fell asleep during the meeting with Mr Bennett. The video went viral and gathered more than 6.5 million views, but was soon tagged as “manipulated media” by Twitter.

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