Obama gets Israeli minister's undivided attention

Obama gets Israeli minister's undivided attention
Jewish Home MP and agriculture minister Uri Ariel welcomes US president to Twitter by telling him that Jerusalem will not "be divided again".
1 min read
20 May, 2015
Obama will not have liked Uri Ariel's tweet (Getty)

When US president Barack Obama finally got a personal Twitter account on Monday, Israel's minister of agriculture, Uri Ariel, quickly followed him.

However, Ariel's opening message was not the things that internet friendships are made of.

Ariel, a notorious right-winger, even by Israeli political standards, and a member of the Jewish Home party, was reminding Obama of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's comments earlier on Monday that Israel would never give back the occupied East Jerusalem, taken in 1967, in any peace deal with the Palestinians.

"Jerusalem won't be divided again," Netanyahu said. "It won't go back to being a frontier or a border town."

Jerusalem Day is an Israeli national holiday marking the start of east Jerusalem's occupation, and fell this year on Sunday.

Ariel is no stranger to controversy.

In 2006 he headed to the vicinity of the al-Aqsa mosque to talk about a plan to build a synagogue there, and then went a step further in 2013, when he was quoted by Israeli paper Maariv calling for a temple to replace the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques.