Netanyahu Party's Foreign Affairs Director Endorsed Spain's Far-right Party Vox – Then Apologized

Eli Hazan deleted the tweet in which he announced Likud supports Vox, which tapped a Holocaust denier for congressional candidate and is anti-immigrant and anti-abortion

Spain's far-right party VOX leader Santiago Abascal speaks at an electoral campaign closing rally in Madrid, Spain April 26, 2019.
REUTERS/Sergio Perez

The foreign affairs director of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party tweeted Saturday his support for the far-right party Vox that is running in Spain's election Sunday before turning back and deleting his tweet, after which he issued an apology. 

Likud PR chief Eli Hazan wrote, in Spanish, that on behalf of the Likud party he wishes Vox and its president luck in the election. In response to comments, he added that "Vox is Likud's sister party in the European Parliament. It helps us a lot… anyone who supports Israel and Jews, I support him back."

After receiving harsh feedback on Twitter, Hazan deleted his tweet. Hours later, he tweeted an apology in Spanish, saying he shouldn't have included the Likud party in his personal opinion.

>> Read more: Holocaust denier from far-right party Vox to run for parliament in Spain ■ Netanyahu's embrace of ethno-nationalists endangers Jews in Europe | Opinion ■ Netanyahu and Orban: An illiberal bromance spanning from D.C. to Jerusalem

Vox is an anti-migrant, anti-feminist and euroskeptic party. The party also advocates outlawing separatist parties, lowering taxes, reforming laws on domestic violence, restricting abortion and closing doors to undocumented migrants.

The deleted tweet by Likud PR chief Eli Hazan, expressing support for Vox.
Screenshot/Twitter

In December, Vox became the first far-right party in decades to enter a regional parliament by winning 12 seats in Andalusia's 109-member parliament, far surpassing expectations. In March, Vox tapped a Holocaust denier as a congressional candidate.

Under Netanyahu's rule, Israel has inched closer in recent years to extreme right-wing parties in Europe in an attempt to change the stance of the European Union on subjects pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the regional threat posed by Iran.

One example of this shift rightward is the Netanyahu government's weak response in comparison with previous governmnets to the Austrian government inclusion of the extreme right Freedom Party in its coalition - a political outfit known for its neo-Nazi roots. Israel decided not to downgrade relations with Austria, despite protest among the Jewish community there. In the past, Israel cut off relations with Austria over this issue.

The Netanyahu government has also been tightening relations with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is considered to be one of the most extreme right-wing politicians in Europe today.

The Netanyahu government has also boasted of close ties to the nationalist Polish government that passed the controversial Holocaust law last year. Israel has also hosted and maintains contacts with Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who is said to be the most extreme among the right-wing ministers in his country.

Relations with the American administration headed by U.S. President Donald Trump as well as with the Brazilian government headed by President Jair Bolsonaro also edge Israel further along in the direction of the conservative side of the global political map.