Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied telling the editor of the Jerusalem Post that the two greatest enemies facing Israel are The New York Times and Haaretz.
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In an address to the Women's international Zionist Organization in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Jerusalem Post editor Steve Linde said that the prime minister had made the comments during a private meeting "a couple of weeks ago", according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The JTA was basing its report on a recording of the meeting. According to the report, Linde told the conference:
Netanyahu said, You know, Steve, we have two main enemies'. And I thought he was going to talk about, you know, Iran, maybe Hamas. He said, Its The New York Times and Haaretz. He said, They set the agenda for an anti-Israel campaign all over the world. Journalists read them every morning and base their news stories on what they read in The New York Times and Haaretz.
According to the recording obtained by the JTA, Netanyahu told the participants of the media that he "absolutely" believed that media could have such strong effect on world opinion regarding Israel.
The Prime Minister's Office released a statement Thursday rejecting the claims. According to the statement, Netanyahu told the foreign affairs committee of the Dutch parliament during a visit to the Netherlands that he never called the two newspapers enemies of Israel, and that it was in fact Iran and its extensions that were the country's greatest adversaries.
The PMO asked Linde to publish a clarification, which he did, stating that his remarks at the Tel Aviv conference were his own analysis of the conversation with the prime minister.