Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rejecting Donald Trump's remarks about banning Muslims from entering the United States, saying that Israel "respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens."
"Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump's recent remarks about Muslims," Netanyahu's office said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world."
The statement added that Netanyahu's planned meeting with Trump was arranged before the Muslim comments and is reflective only of the prime minister's pledge to meet with any White House candidate regardless of party. Trump is reportedly set to meet with Netanyahu in Israel on December 28.
"As for the meeting with Mr. Trump that was set some two weeks ago, the Prime Minister decided earlier this year on a uniform policy to agree to meet with all presidential candidates from either party who visit Israel and ask for a meeting," the statement read. "This policy does not represent an endorsement of any candidate or his or her views. Rather, it is an expression of the importance that Prime Minister Netanyahu attributes to the strong alliance between Israel and the United States."
On Monday, Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." That statement brought broad rebukes from party officials on both sides of the aisle, although his supporters have mostly cheered the move.