Netanyahu Accuses Media of 'Downplaying' Polls That Favor Likud

The prime minister said his Likud party should be aiming to increase its Knesset representation in the next election from its current 30 seats.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at cabinet meeting, April 23, 2017.
Ronen Zvulun / AFP pool photo

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked the media on Sunday, saying that the press had deliberately downplayed public opinion polling data that favored his Likud party and that pointed to a Likud victory in future elections.

The prime minister was speaking at a meeting of Likud ministers prior to Sunday's cabinet meeting. A source in attendance at the meeting said the prime minister made his comments against the backdrop of opinion poll results reported on Saturday on Channel 2's "Meet the Press" indicating that if a Knesset election were held today, Likud would get 28 seats in the Knesset, down from the party's current 30 in the 120-seat legislature. Netanyahu said his party's goal in upcoming elections, which are officially not scheduled until 2019, must be to garner more than 30 Knesset seats.

At the beginning of the cabinet meeting, the prime minister commented on a vocal confrontation at a meeting at the Knesset last week of the Control Committee between committee members and the representatives of families who lost relatives in the war in Gaza in 2014. "The people of Israel are united around the bereaved families," said Netanyahu who was in attendance at the Control Committee meeting. "As the son of a bereaved family, I heard the things said last week in the heat of argument. I regret the fact that the statements were made. An apology should have been made over them immediately, and it's good that that was done."