Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
(photo credit: GPO)
The country’s diplomatic reporters took umbrage Wednesday at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s complaint that his recent trip to Russia was not sufficiently covered by the media, writing in a letter to his spokesman that this claim would be amusing were it not “flagrant incitement” against journalists and the principle of a free press.
Netanyahu, in a Facebook post that was accompanied by a video, charged that the “majority of the Israeli press ignored the historic visit that I made to Russia to mark 25 years to the renewal of ties.”
Netanyahu said that it was a “moving visit full of significant achievements.”
Among those achievements, he said, were the signing of an agreement on pensions for immigrants from Russia, technological accords, agreements on tourism and agriculture, strengthening the military coordination between the two countries, as well as the return of a tank from 1982’s Battle of Sultan Yacoub in Lebanon.
In response, the Diplomatic Reporters’ Association, made up of 18 reporters from the country’s leading media outlets, including The Jerusalem Post, wrote that it “firmly rejects the accusations, and protests the prime minister’s delegitimization of the Israeli media’s professional and proper work.”
According to the letter, Netanyahu’s visit received wide and suitable coverage, with some news outlets running 20 reports on the trip.
The coverage, the letter read, included “significant attention to the relations between the two states, an expansive report on the joint press conference between [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the prime minister, which was broadcast live by several media outlets, wide coverage of the story of the tank from Sultan Yacoub, the concert at the Bolshoi Theater, and Israel’s public diplomacy exhibition.
“The prime minister’s remarks would have been amusing if they didn’t constitute flagrant incitement against reporters and against the principle of free press in a democratic state,” the letter continued.
“The association represents journalists from all streams and opinions in Israeli society, and is united in the opinion that we don’t want a ‘free press’ like in Russia.