Mrs. Netanyahu Tells Melania Trump: 'The Media Hates Us. Like You'

Melania Trump and Sara Netanyahu
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump (seated, L) chats with Sara Netanyahu (seated, front) as U.S. President Donald Trump (C) talks to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) during a welcome ceremony for the Trumps at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on May 22. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was caught making diplomatic small talk with first lady Melania Trump upon President Donald Trump’s arrival in Israel on Monday, flagging something they have in common: the media’s alleged hatred of both couples.

The Trumps landed at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, having taken the first-ever direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel. On the airport tarmac, the Netanyahus and Israeli ministers welcomed the first couple.

Israel’s Channel 2 broadcaster caught the remarks between the two women. “You know in Israel all the people like us, the media hate us but the people love us,” Sara Netanyahu said to Melania Trump. “Like you.”

President Trump replied, “We have a lot in common,” to which Sara Netanyahu said, “We’ll talk about it over dinner.”

Both Trump and Netanyahu claim that the media have carried out witch hunts against them in their respective countries. Trump has been a fierce critic of the media coverage of his presidency at home. He regularly labels reports he disputes as “fake news” and, according to one report, even suggested to former FBI Director James Comey that some journalists be imprisoned.

Netanyahu is subject to a corruption investigation after media reports in December alleged that he received lavish gifts from two businessmen.

Read more: Donald Trump’s 28-hour Israeli and Palestinian tour itinerary in full

“All these so-called scandals have turned out to be baseless, and the same will be regarding the allegations published in the media now,” he said after the publication of the reports. Israeli police subsequently questioned Netanyahu on several occasions, and the investigation is ongoing.

According to a report published by Israeli newspaper Haaretz in January, evidence collected from the police investigation into the prime minister showed that the Netanyahus and residents of their property in Jerusalem referred to bottles of pink champagne as “pinks” and to fancy cigars as “leaves.” The newspaper suggests that the code words indicate a deliberate attempt to conceal the gifts from American businessman Arnon Milchan. Investigators have also implicated Sara in the scandal.

Earlier in 2016, Netanyahu was accused of receiving $1.1 million from convicted French fraudster Arnaud Mimran, who is currently serving eight years in prison. Mimran said at his trial in June that he donated the money to the Israeli leader for the 2009 election campaign. Netanyahu denied the claim but admitted to accepting $40,000 from Mimran.

At Ben Gurion airport, Trump said he was visiting Israel to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and the state of Israel.” Netanyahu hailed Trump's visit as “historic,” the first time a U.S. president has made Israel a stop on his first foreign trip.

Trump is to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem in a bid to revive a peace process frozen since 2014. It comes after he addressed Arab leaders in Riyadh on Sunday, calling on them to stamp out extremism.

After stopping at the residence of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday, Trump will visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall before meeting up with the Netanyahus again at the King David Hotel. They will then travel to Netanyahu’s home on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street for dinner.