Netanyahu Said He Met Boris Yeltsin in London, His Office Dubbed Over the Gaffe

Yeltsin, who died in 2007, was the first president of the Russian Federation, between 1991 and 1999

Netanyahu meets with Boris Yeltsin in Moscow in 1997, with his then-aide Avigdor Lieberman.
Moshe Milner / GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a cabinet meeting Sunday that he met with Boris Yeltsin during a weekend visit to London, confusing him with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. An doctored tape of the meeting later tweeted out by the prime minister's office dubbed over the gaffe.

"I've returned from a very pleasant visit in London, where I've met with Prime Minister Boris Yeltsin and the U.S. defense secretary," Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting. Attendants quickly interjected to correct him, suggesting he meant "Johnson," with a smiling Netanyahu responding, saying he was just checking to see if they were paying attention.

Netanyahu and Boris Johnson in London.

Yeltsin, who died in 2007, was the first president of the Russian Federation, between 1991 and 1999. Yeltsin's term overlapped Netanyahu's first term as prime minister, between 1996 and 1999.

Johnson won the Conservative Party race to become prime minister after Theresa May resigned in June.

Twitter was quick to respond to Netanyahu's latest gaffe, superimposing Yeltsin's face onto a Likud campaign poster featuring Netanyahu with U.S. President Donald Trump. The poster, which reads, "Netanyahu, a different league," was put up to highlight the prime minister's diplomatic standing ahead of Israel's September 17 vote.

This is not the first Netanyahu mix-up. In March, Netanyahu said in a campaign speech that he had been on an official visit to Afghanistan, confusing it with Israel's ally, Azerbaijan.

In December, Netanyahu said that his wife, Sara, was on an official state visit in Nicaragua, when in fact she was in Guatemala.