TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday slammed the left and the “fake news” media – which he said was “the same thing” – for embarking on an “obsessive hunting” expedition and using corruption charges against him and his family to bring about “a coup against the government.”
“They don’t want to just take me down, they want to take us all down,” he told a 3,000-strong crowd of supporters of his Likud party in Tel Aviv. “They know that they can’t beat us at the ballot boxes, so they are trying to circumvent democracy and topple us in other ways.”
“But we keep winning in the ballots because we’ve brought Israel to the best place it has ever been in Israel’s history,” he said, adding the the “fake news media” would have people believing that Israel is being increasingly treated as a pariah state when in fact the opposite is true.
“The State of Israel is in an unprecedented political boom, and the flow of visits to Israel and my flow of invitations abroad is unprecedented: India, China, the United States of course, Africa – countless countries and continents,” he said.
Netanyahu said keeping his national camp in power is critical to Israel’s future, and that ousting rightwing leadership in the past has only led to disaster for Israel. Likud PM Yitzhak Shamir’s removal from power in 1992 – on corruption charges – was followed by “the Oslo disaster and the exploding buses,” he said, referring to the 1993 peace accords and subsequent explosion of Palestinian violence. He also said that when he himself was ousted in 1999 – on trumped up charges, he contended – the Second Intifada, which saw more than a 1,000 Israelis killed in suicide bombings, ensued.
He mocked the leftwing daily Haaretz for making him an “explicit offer” in which the newspaper would “leave him alone” if he agreed to withdraw from the West Bank.
“Here’s my answer: No! No, thank you! If the left wants to confront us with its political and economic outlook, it would be useful to do that at the ballot box. And in the next elections, with God’s help and with their help, we won’t get 30 seats, but 40 seats!” he said.
“We know that the left and the media — and we know that it’s the same thing — is on an unprecedented witch hunt against me and my family with the goal of achieving a coup against the government,” he said.
“The thought police in the media work full-time to set the agenda, and woe to anyone who veers away from it,” Netanyahu said, to which the assembled crowd cheered, “down with the media.”
“Their goal is to put unremitting pressure on law enforcement agencies to file an indictment without any connection to the truth, regardless of justice,” Netanyahu warned.
Netanyahu ended the speech by thanking the crowd effusively, “Thank you for your support for me and my beloved wife Sara who has been with me all along. I love you all.”