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17 Jan, 2019 20:15

Israeli PM shows off beefed-up border fence in #10YearChallenge post

Israeli PM shows off beefed-up border fence in #10YearChallenge post

With the #10YearChallenge craze sweeping social media, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu jumped aboard, showing off his progress erecting a concrete and barbed wire wall on the border with Egypt.

A lot can change in ten years. The selfies flooding social media in recent days show people growing older, more mature and wiser. Or, in Benjamin Netanyahu’s case, more fervently anti-immigration.

The Israeli leader posted a picture of a fortified barrier built along his country’s border with Egypt in the Sinai desert. Beside it was a picture of the same location in 2009, when the wall was still a waist-height wire fence, but offered far better views of the sweeping desert vista.

The PM’s tweet was quickly pounced on by anti-Israel activists, one of whom claimed Netanyahu’s brag showed Israel is a “deeply racist society.” Another accused him of “brazenly” allying himself with US President Donald Trump.

Completed in 2012, the 200km Egyptian border fence cut illegal immigration to almost zero. While the fence attracted controversy, Netanyahu vigorously defended it, claiming it stopped terrorists entering Israel, as well as African migrants who would change Israel’s overwhelmingly Jewish demographic makeup.

“Attacks by terrorist groups in the Sinai, and the worst thing: A flood of illegal infiltrators from Africa,” Netanyahu said at a conference last March. “How could we have guaranteed a Jewish-democratic state with 50,000 and after that 100,000, and it would have reached 1.5 million [illegal immigrants]?”

Israel has also built walls along its borders with Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and parts of the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s wall-building efforts have been praised by Trump, currently locked into a political struggle with Congressional Democrats over his plans to build a barrier along the US’ southern border with Mexico.

“Walls work, just ask Israel,” he said during a press conference last May. Trump reiterated the same argument in December, tweeting “properly designed and built Walls work, and the Democrats are lying when they say they don’t. In Israel the Wall is 99.9% successful. Will not be any different on our Southern Border!”

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