TEL AVIV - Israel on Thursday barred the entry of two American Democratic congresswomen who had planned to visit the West Bank, the deputy foreign minister on Israeli radio said, hours after President Trump had urged the country to bar them.

Trump’s intervention was an extraordinary step to influence an allied nation and punish his political opponents at home.

It was reported last week that Mr. Trump was pressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to deny entrance to the two women, Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, and Thursday morning he left little doubt. He said in a Twitter post while Israeli officials were still deliberating the matter that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit.”

“The decision has been made, the decision is not to allow them to enter,” Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, told Israel’s Reshet Bet Radio.

Trump’s decision to recommend that another country block entry to two United States citizens, let alone members of Congress, was one of the most pronounced violations of democratic norms that he has engaged in since taking office in January 2017.

It also placed him at odds with the Republican leadership in Congress.


Many Israelis and Jewish leaders have also expressed discomfort with the idea that American officials could be denied entry because of their beliefs or criticism of Israel. Just last month, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, said that Israel would not deny entry to any United States representatives.

Ms. Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Ms. Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, were scheduled to arrive on Sunday for a tour of the West Bank, partly under the auspices of an organization headed by a longtime Palestinian lawmaker, Hanan Ashrawi, that was expected to highlight Palestinian grievances over the Israeli occupation.

The women were planning to visit the West Bank cities of Hebron, Ramallah and Bethlehem, as well as Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, including a visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque, a hotly contested and volatile holy site, according to Ms. Ashrawi. Most of the delegation was expected to depart on Aug. 22, but Ms. Tlaib had been planning to stay on to visit relatives in the West Bank.

The purpose of the visit, Ms. Ashrawi said, was to give the congresswomen a way “to engage with the Palestinian people directly and to see things on the ground.”

“What are they afraid of?” she said, referring to the Israeli government. “That they might find out things?”

Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar, both freshmen, are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Ms. Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, has spoken often of her grandmother, who lives on the West Bank, while Ms. Omar, a Somali refugee, is the first woman to wear a hijab on the House floor.