Netanyahu Says Protests Are Attempt to Trample Democracy, Calls Them 'Coronavirus Incubators'

The media don't report on the protests, the prime minister says, they take part in them

Jonathan Lis
Noa Landau
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Anti-Netanyahu protesters in Jerusalem, August 1, 2020.
Anti-Netanyahu protesters in Jerusalem, August 1, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Jonathan Lis
Noa Landau

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the Israeli media is fueling the country's anti-government protests at "North Korean levels" and that the demonstrations are themselves are "an attempt to trample democracy."

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, the prime minister said that the media in Israel has rallied behind the protests. "They are being encouraged. They are allowed to paralyze neighborhoods, block roads, contrary to everything that was acceptable before."

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He added that he condemns "the one-sidedness of most of the media," he continued. "They don't report on the protests. They take part in them."

Some 10,000 people protested near the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem Saturday night, and additional protests took place outside Netanyahu's private home in Caesarea and at highway junctions throughout the country.

According to Netanyahu, the media never condemns violence directed at the other side of the political spectrum or what he said are "daily" death threats against himself and his family. The rallying by the media behind the protests, Netanyahu said, is not akin to Soviet times. "It's already at North Korean" levels.

A demonstrator attacked in Tel Aviv.
Shay Sekler, an anti-Netanyahu demonstrator who was attacked in Tel Aviv, July 28, 2020.Credit: Ben Netzer/Army Radio

Netanyahu said he condemns violence of any kind, "but here, in the name of democracy, I see an attempt to trample democracy," adding that "All the rules are being distorted at these demonstrations."

"First of all, no one is limiting the protests." Netanyahu said. "On the contrary, they are being accommodated. These are coronavirus incubators. There are laws that are not being enforced. No one is limiting them and no is trying to."

Later Sunday, speaking at a joint press conference with the Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Coronavirus Czar Roni Gamzu, Netanyahu again lashed out against media coverage of the protests, saying "Never has such a small minority received so much coverage."

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