Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday attacked Israel’s mainstream media for being an “industry of depression.”
At a toast held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, Netanyahu blasted the left-leaning press for constantly focusing on (and, in his view, exaggerating) socio-economic problems, while all but ignoring Israel’s successes.
Netanyahu sees this type of coverage as part of an ongoing media effort to sabotage his premiership and smear him personally.
Long at odds with Israel’s mainstream media, Netanyahu recently ramped up the tension by pushing through legislation that would further privatize the state-run press and open the door to greater competition.
“I would like to see more competition, more diversity, more pluralism. The last thing I want is the opposite of that. The press is not diverse enough, does not reflect the public’s feelings,” said the prime minister.
Those elements of the mainstream media that draw their salaries from taxpayers’ money see this as a direct assault, and in response have accused Netanyahu of trying to limit freedom of the press in Israel.
Netanyahu has retorted by noting the overwhelming criticism to which he is treated in most of the Israeli media, and that this is done freely and without repercussion.