Likud Minister-without-Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi is facing criticism after comments he made during an interview on Friday, wherein he implied that the claims of people who complain of hunger and food shortages are “bulls**t.”When asked on Channel 12’s “Ophira and Berkovich” program what he plans to do to help people in Israel who don’t have enough food to eat, Hanegbi said that “this nonsense that ‘people have nothing to eat’ is bulls**t. There are a million unemployed, most of whom have so far received unemployment benefits and now we have to get them back to work. There are businesses that have been hit and are in dire straits, but saying ‘there is nothing to eat’ is populism.” The tones on both sides escalated as the interviewers vehemently disagreed, saying that the comment made him seem disconnected. Hanegbi replied by telling them “you are disconnected! You don’t understand what populism is. It is shouting and shouting.”After tensions calmed, he elaborated, saying that “the government and all the greatest geniuses in the treasury are trying to balance the public’s needs with the needs of the impoverished. You cannot pour money indefinitely, the state does not have enough money.”Hanegbi was largely criticized online, with several, mainly left-wing politicians on Twitter sharing the sentence “Ministers-without-portfolios are bulls**t.”In addition, Hanegbi’s page on Wikipedia was changed temporarily to open with the words “Tzachi Hanegbi is a corrupt, opportunistic pig.”Channel 12 reported that the minister had received dozens of furious messages from citizens over Friday night, with many saying the minister is “disconnected” and should be “ashamed of himself.”“I hope you can sleep well at night with your statements. I am poor and there are many others like me. I have no food to give my children for Shabbat,” one of the messages reads.Opposition leader, Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid, said in a tweet following Hanegbi’s comments that he should “go meet the self-employed, the unemployed, the business owners whose lives have fallen apart. The only bulls**t here is the disconnected government you sit in.”Former Meretz MK and vocal activist for disabled people, Ilan Gilon, shared a text message he had received from a 60-year-old woman who receives regular disability benefits, yet still cannot afford to eat.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lamented Hanegbi’s comments. His office released a statement saying that “like in the rest of the world, the coronavirus is taking a high toll on people’s lives, health and livelihoods. The challenge is real and the prime minister is working around the clock to address it, including via economic aid packages for businesses and citizens.”Hanegbi issued an apology for his comments in a series of tweets, saying “unfortunately, in the heat of the debate, I expressed myself in a way that hurt public sentiment. That was not my intention and I take back what I said.“I promise that we will continue to act responsibly and sensitively to get the economy back on track, and to compensate as much as possible those who are rightfully fearful for their future and for their families,” Hanegbi concluded.Hanegbi has been an MK since 1988 and has held many portfolios including public security, environment and health.