‘North Korea TV can learn from them’: Netanyahu lashes out at Israeli media over ‘one-sided’ coverage of protests

Israelis protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s response to the financial fallout of the coronavirus. © Reuters / Ronen Zvulun / Free

Israeli media is not reporting on the protests against him, but taking part in them, PM Benjamin Netanyahu said as he launched several attacks on the country’s press, which he insisted was acting “North Korea-style.”

The demonstrations, which have been underway for months in Israel, are “being fueled especially by the media who have enlisted themselves [to the protests] in a manner the like of which I can’t remember,” Netanyahu said following a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

They are not reporting on the protests, but participating in them, and fueling them.

The journalists completely neglect the violence on the part of the demonstrators, he argued, referring to a police officer, who was recently seriously injured and required surgery. “Daily calls to murder the prime minister and his family” are also being ignored, the PM added.

“There has never been such a distorted mobilization” of the media in the country, he said. “I would have said Soviet, but it’s already North Korean in manner.”

Netanyahu also used Facebook to slam the “one-sided” press, posting a comic which blamed the country’s Channels 12 and 13 of pouring garbage into the heads of their viewers.

In the comment with the picture, he labeled the broadcasters “a propaganda arm for the anarchistic left-wing protests,” trying to “brainwash the public” in order to overthrow him, “a strong rightist prime minister.”

“North Korean television can learn from them,” he wrote, but expressed confidence that the Israeli people weren’t falling for those insinuations.

Meanwhile, around 10,000 Israeli people protested outside Netanyahu’s official residence on Saturday, demanding his immediate resignation. Twelve people were arrested as police intervened.

The demonstrators say the PM, who has been in the job since 2009, must go due to being corrupt and the country’s failing response to the coronavirus.

Netanyahu was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of public trust in several cases last November – ironically, some of them linked to making deals with media owners for less critical coverage. The man vigorously denies the accusations.

Public anger is also being fueled by a strict coronavirus lockdown introduced by the Israeli government, which caused an unemployment surge in the country – while the abrupt lifting of restrictions in May led to a spike in Covid-19 cases. Many people were also left without the financial aid promised by the PM.

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