Fake news is often part of the political game to prepare the population for something new, especially when published by recognized journalists or commentators. In the last few days, some examples of this type of fake news appeared in Israel.
Religious journalist Amit Segal announced yesterday on Channel 12 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had already agreed to a new compromise proposal regarding judicial reform. The proposal includes new legislation on a watered-down “reasonableness” law, no change to the judicial selection committee and the freezing of all reform legislation for 18 months. Shortly after the report was published, Netanyahu and his Justice Minister Yariv Levin denied it. The report that the Likud had agreed to a compromise on judicial reform proposed by President Isaac Herzog was “fake news,” they insisted. Segal, who is very close to Netanyahu and is often seen as his mouthpiece in the mainstream media, certainly did not publish any fake news from Netanyahu.
The news of fresh negotiations comes just as the Supreme Court is set to hold two dramatic hearings on judicial reform this month. On September 12, the Court will hear petitions challenging the Reasonableness Amendment Act. According to the recently passed amendment to the relevant Basic Law, the Supreme Court can no longer overturn government decisions “solely because they are [considered by the justices to be] unreasonable and inappropriate.” Shortly after the law was passed, petitions were filed against the change. Yesterday, Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara asked the Supreme Court to overturn the amendment. That would be an absolute novelty, as the Supreme Court has never overturned an amendment to Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws.
Segal’s report also matches what was published a few days earlier in the Orthodox newspaper Modia. Accordingly, Netanyahu is ready to dissolve or abandon his governing coalition in return for an Israeli-Saudi peace agreement. “The Prime Minister is even prepared to overthrow his own governing coalition for this,” wrote Modia. “Netanyahu has come to terms with the fact that his political career is coming to an end,” the religious newspaper reported on Friday morning. These moves, Modia continued, are being taken in consultation with Washington. Netanyahu is “unable to govern the country in the current political situation,” according to the report.
״המודיע״ מודיע. pic.twitter.com/sDhJ8tYZQS
— אילן שילוח (@IlanShiloah) September 1, 2023
Report from the Orthodox newspaper Modia: “Is Netanyahu preparing to overthrow the government?”
This was also denied by Netanyahu’s Likud party shortly before the start of Shabbat and repeatedly described it as fake news. Modia is an ultra-Orthodox newspaper and is owned by Bibi’s ultra-Orthodox coalition partner, the United Torah Judaism Party. “This government will fulfill its mandate regardless of the prime minister’s attempts to expand Israel’s circle of peace,” the Likud statement read.
This explains, among other things, Netanyahu’s strange tweet the day before yesterday, which suggested that his heart is not entirely in judicial reform, at least not in the way it is being carried out. The tweet was quickly deleted, and Likud officials again labeled media interpretations of it–that Netanyahu sees current arguments for judicial reform as less sensible than those against it–as “fake news.”
Compromise talks on Israel’s judicial overhaul are in the works. Lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum reject any bargain
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) September 5, 2023
No matter how you look at it and which side you are on in the political confusion surrounding judicial reform, fake news definitely has its place in politics, often to bring the truth to the media in a roundabout way, or the lie in a straightforward way. The difference is often not easy to see. Just because someone says it’s fake news doesn’t mean it’s fake news. It always depends on who is spreading this fake news, as well as the background to these reports.
Ultimately, the two camps in Israel, left and right, are at war with each other, constantly accusing the other of only spreading fake news about their opponents. But regarding this recent example, if it was reported by Amit Segal, then I find it difficult to believe it’s fake news. And I can also well imagine that Segal received this message from Bibi personally in order to test the waters for a possible compromise. Segal has admitted on several occasions that he is informed directly by Bibi about things to pass on to the media. This is normal in the relationship between politicians and journalists. So we have to see who lied, the one who spread the “fake news,” or the one who denied ultimately labeled it was such, Segal or Bibi.
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.