Netanyahu Claims Israeli Media Ignored Abe's Visit to Israel. 56 News Stories Prove Otherwise

'Did you hear anything' about Shinzo Abe's visit 'in the media? Nothing!' Netanyahu claims, despite extensive Israeli coverage of the visit

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Jerusalem meeting with Japan's Shinzo Abe.
Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Facebook on Friday to complain that the Israeli media ignored the visit to Israel by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week.

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"Did you hear anything about it in the media? Nothing!" Netanyahu charged on his Likud-funded Facebook account. But data collected by the Ifat Media Analysis company points to the fact that 56 articles were published by Israeli media outlets on the visit, 38 of them created by national media outlets, including Haaretz.

This vast coverage was carried out despite the fact that only three media outlets were granted permission to cover Netanyahu's meeting with Abe, and the press was not allotted time to ask the two leaders questions.

Abe paid a two-day visit to the region. In his meeting last week with Netanyahu he expressed his country's support for the two-state solution but also noted that Japan did not intend to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Abe had also expressed hope that Israel curbs its settlement construction.   

The premier often complains about what he claims to be insufficient coverage of international affairs that he believes emphasize his foreign policy accomplishments. Israel's diplomatic reporters have already pointed out to the prime minister and his bureau in the past that such accusations against the Israeli media were baseless and merely meant to portray Netanyahu as a victim.

"Prime minister, why don't you stop the fake news? "Not only that you didn't open your meeting with the Japanese prime minister to the press and for questions, it was actually covered by the media," Itamar Eichner, Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot's diplomatic correspondent tweeted Friday in response to the prime minister's claims.

"Maybe you should delete this post like you deleted the post on Sakhnin," Eichner wrote. The journalist was referring to a Facebook post Netanyahu wrote recently which sparked a storm of its own. In the post, the prime minister charged that fans of Bnei Sakhnin, an Israeli Arab soccer group, did not respect a moment of mournful silence that was requested prior to a game in honor of the teens who died in flash floods in southern Israel last week.

The fact check carried out by Ifat includes articles published by the media before and following the meeting between the two leaders, and did not include articles about Netanyahu's claims about the lack of coverage.

Ifat found that 30 articles were published prior to Netanyahu and Abe's meeting, 19 of them by national media outlets, and 26 stories were published after the meeting, of them 19 by national media outlets. Of the 38 stories on national media, 17 were written for online publications, nine appeared in Israeli newspapers, nine were aired on radio stations and three on television channels.

Despite this varied and vast coverage, the prime minister lamented in a video he released to his Facebook page: "This week the prime minister of Japan, my friend Shinzo Abe who stands at the helm of the world's third largest economy, visited Israel. Did you hear anything about it in the media? No!"