Netanyahu Blasts Friday News for Cutting His Response to a Report

Netanyahu said Channel 2's 'Ulpan Shishi' chose to delete the following criticism that he made of the program: 'It's not 'Ulpan Shishi' without a biased and insulting report against Netanyahu or the right.'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a weekly cabinet briefing meeting in Jerusalem July 24, 2016.
Ronen Zvulun, AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took Channel 2 news to task in a Facebook post on Saturday night accusing the editors of the station's prime-time Friday evening news show, "Ulpan Shishi," of censoring his response to a news report on alleged staffing problems in his office, deleting comments uncomplimentary to the station.

In the Facebook post, Netanyahu, who is also communications minister, posted what he said was the portion that the station had deleted, a response that he said was issued in reaction to "a long report that dealt entirely with smearing my bureau, my wife and my son." The station, he said, cut out the following portion of his response: "It's not 'Ulpan Shishi' without a biased and insulting report against Netanyahu or the right."

Netanyahu added on Facebook: "Many in the Israeli media sanctify criticism only when it is directed at me or at the right, but when it involves criticism of them themselves, they cut it and silence it. Where is the professionalism and the journalistic ethics?"

The prime minister was responding to a report by Channel 2 diplomatic reporter Udi Segal in which several people who had in the past worked closely with Netanyahu were interviewed. Two of them, Yoaz Hendel, who was the prime minister's director of communications and public diplomacy, and Uzi Arad, who had been head of the National Security Council, were reported as saying that Netanyahu would always prefer personal associates to the appointment of professionals in part over what they are said to have called the prime minister's paranoia.

In response to the Facebook post, a source from Channel 2 told Haaretz in part that the prime minister "continues his daily attacks on the free press in Israel. We rely on the public, which understands that the role of the media is the expose and criticize."