FOX's Mark Levin: Coordinated effort to oust Netanyahu

Fox News host and right-wing pundit Mark Levin has lambasted the Israeli media as “very hostile” to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

THE NEW CHANNEL 20 show, ‘Riklin and Magal’ (photo credit: ZACHARY KEYSER/SCREENSHOT)
THE NEW CHANNEL 20 show, ‘Riklin and Magal’
Fox News host and right-wing pundit Mark Levin has lambasted the Israeli media as “very hostile” to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and blasted the attorney-general, saying the pending charges against the prime minister were “a disgrace.”
Levin, who has accused the media and the “Deep State” of trying to remove US President Donald Trump from power, also said that there “could well be” a coordinated effort in Israeli state institutions to remove Netanyahu from power.
“With some exceptions – too few unfortunately – the Israeli media has been very hostile to Netanyahu, as our media has been very hostile to President Trump,” Levin told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
He also took aim at Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, who served as Netanyahu’s cabinet secretary for three years, saying that he had “slapped together” the charges against the prime minister and that “it is a disgrace to make those allegations the way he did.”
In Case 1000 regarding the gifts received by Netanyahu from wealthy businessmen and pending breach of trust charges, Levin objected to how the NIS 229,000 in champagne and cigars received by Netanyahu from James Packer had been included in the case, saying that Packer had not sought anything from the prime minister in return.
“The charges are a disgrace. This is juicing; James Packer didn’t want anything,” said Levin.
Case 1000 revolves primarily around Arnon Milchan, who gave Netanyahu and his wife Sara NIS 477,000 in cigars, champagne and jewelry. In return, the prime minister allegedly helped Milchan with his US visa and sought to broaden the terms of a tax exemption law which would benefit Milchan.
When requests from Netanyahu for gifts became onerous for Milchan, he allegedly asked Packer to take up this burden – something which might demonstrate that the granting of the gifts by Milchan was not entirely voluntary.
Levin also took exception to the pending bribery charges against Netanyahu in Case 4000, which allege that Netanyahu promoted regulatory changes that would favor Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch. In return, Elovitch ensured that news website Walla, which he also owned, would give the prime minister more favorable coverage.
“The prime minister is allowed to make policy changes and is asked to allow for positive news [coverage]. Is there an article in exchange for regulatory decisions, which is what you need? There’s none. There’s not one shred of evidence of a quid pro quo,” said Levin.
Despite Levin’s claims, the pending charges against Netanyahu include a wealth of examples of demands the prime minister allegedly made through several intermediaries, to improve coverage of him.
These include an alleged demand by the prime minister that his 2015 Election Day video, in which Netanyahu warned of “Arabs going to the polls in droves,” remain up on Walla’s website for an extended period of time; a demand to keep a news item on the run-down state of the prime minister’s official residence on site for an extended period of time; demands to delete negative items published about him, including those relating to lawsuits against Sara; and demands for Walla to place negative items on the site about Netanyahu’s political rivals.
Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua has testified that he received requests by Elovitch to change the website’s coverage of Netanyahu on a systematic basis, as have reporters from Walla as well.
Levin went on to attack the Israeli press in general, saying that, “the media mindset, which too often is driven by ideology and too much of it very sloppy, [is] very similar [to that in the US], and in fact probably worse in Israel on occasion.”
He added that there was “a pack mentality, [which] is a problem in modern journalism and a lot of free societies. It exists clearly in Israel. And in the US, there is the same thing – very little circumspection and very little self policing that takes place.”
Levin said that Netanyahu “shakes up the dug-in bureaucrats, whether they are in the military [or] the civil service,” and opined that “it’s not possible to be a great leader and a great statesman if you don’t do that; otherwise you’re just an administrator overseeing what’s already there.”
“That’s not Netanyahu’s mindset. It’s not Trump’s, Churchill’s, Reagan’s or Thatcher’s mindset. They had all these detractors all the time, including the media,” Levin said. “Netanyahu has been a brilliant leader. He’s accomplished an enormous amount. He has had a great relationship with the US and has a good working relationship with Russia. Given the complicated geopolitics, it’s remarkable how much he has done while [the] A-G [was] smearing him [and] while the press is on him.”
Asked if there was a coordinated effort from deep inside state institutions to get rid of Netanyahu, Levin said “It could well be; I wouldn’t doubt it for a minute. It’s exactly what’s going in the United States – but too damn bad.”
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.