Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday lashed out at swelling protests against his rule, saying they were encouraged by a biased media that distorts facts and cheers on the demonstrators.
Netanyahu has faced a wave of protests in recent weeks, with demonstrators calling for the resignation of the long-serving leader, who is on trial for corruption charges, along with his handling of the coronavirus crisis.
He has painted the protests as dens of “anarchists” and “leftists” out to topple “a strong right-wing leader”.
Thousands of Israelis have been gathering tonight in Jerusalem to protest against Israel's prime minister Netanyahu. pic.twitter.com/Wa5rGZmmZs
— Abdalrahim Alfarra (@AbdMfarra) August 1, 2020
In a six-minute rant at a meeting of his Cabinet, Netanyahu slammed the media for “inflaming” the protests and for misrepresenting incidents of violence against the protesters.
“There has never been such a distorted mobilization – I wanted to say Soviet but it has already reached North Korean terms – of the media in favor of the protests,” he said.
Netanyahu said the media ignored “wild and unfettered incitement, including daily calls – including the day before yesterday – to murder the prime minister and his family”.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) July 31, 2020
He said the protests were breeding grounds for coronavirus that were being allowed to take place with no limits, shutting down streets and neighborhoods, claiming that right-wing protests have not been given such free rein.
He condemned violence “from all sides” at the start of his remarks before tearing into the media he has long viewed as hostile toward him.
Also at the cabinet meeting, alternate prime minister and defense minister Benny Gantz said the protests must be allowed to take place with demonstrators shielded from violence.
“The right to protest is the lifeblood of democracy and violence is the erosion of the foundation of democracy,” he said.
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)