Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a rally..
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
The Likud came out en masse in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who lashed out at the media to a responsive chorus of resounding boos.
Netanyahu accused the Left and the media of being one and the same, together on “an obsessive, unprecedented witch-hunt against me and my family, seeking to overthrow the government.... Their goal is to put inappropriate pressure on law enforcement, with no connection to justice.”
The prime minister called the media the “thought police.”
“God forbid if you think differently from them!” he quipped.
Netanyahu also pointed out to the adoring crowd how “the fake news media repeated that if we don’t withdraw from territories in our homeland, Israel will be isolated and weak and abandoned. Remember their cries? Isolation, isolation, isolation.”
The crowd showed its own distaste for members of the press, confronting some of them with shouts, while others held signs describing the media with obscenities.
“They’re just jealous of Bibi,” one woman said while waiting on line to go through security. During Netanyahu’s speech, another attendee scoffed that the TV news would probably manipulate the boos for the media to seem like the prime minister was the target.
The rally was held in a packed hall at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, after it was moved from a smaller location due to the large number of Likud members who signed up to attend.
People held signs warning of a putsch and saying “the Left thinks the rule of law is a joke.” They sang, “Bibi, king of Israel,” to the tune of the song about King David, and toted posters – on which Netanyahu’s face was emblazoned – bearing the slogan “My prime minister.”
Coalition chairman David Bitan, who organized the demonstration in response to the protests held every Saturday night near Attorney- General Avichai Mandelblit’s home calling for him to indict Netanyahu, was mobbed by party members hoping to take photos with him. Controversial MK Oren Hazan, who called the State Attorney’s Office “a stable that’s full of crap that needs to be cleaned up,” took selfie after selfie with fans.
The prime minister – who faces multiple police investigations – warned that the Palestinians hope he gets convicted of corruption, because they know he won’t make concessions they want, such as “retreating to the 1967 borders, to the outskirts of Kfar Saba.”
In 1992, Netanyahu said, the Left claimed that thenprime minister Yitzhak Shamir was corrupt, ousted him, “and then we got Oslo and exploding buses. Now they’re doing the same to me and my wife,” adding that the media don’t tell the public how Sara Netanyahu, who was in attendance, helps Holocaust survivors and children with cancer.
“Instead, they’re busy with who changes light bulbs [at the Prime Minister’s Residence] or served tea to her father, a righteous man, when he was on his deathbed. Shame! There are rumors that the media will demand that the police investigate [my dog] Kaya under caution,” he added.
Netanyahu also mocked former prime minister Ehud Barak, who has taken to recording online videos criticizing the prime minister, as an “old man with a new beard,” whose comments are “nonsense.”
The prime minister said a Likud member told him that the Left “knows they can’t win in the ballot booth, so they are trying to circumvent democracy and topple me without elections. They know that because we win time after time, because we brought Israel to the best situation in its history. We turned the country into a world power. If the Left wants to challenge us, it’ll have to do it at the voting stations.
“In the next election we won’t just get 30 [Knesset] seats,” like the Likud has now, Netanyahu said, “we’ll get 40.”
Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat voices his support for Benjamin Netanyahu (Lahav Harkov)