Coalition Whip Floats Unfounded 'Rumor' anti-Netanyahu Protesters Are Being Paid Off

'10,000 protesters against Netanyahu, I heard some of them are paid by groups that are hostile to the right-wing government,' says Miki Zohar. But who's paying? 'There are all sorts of rumors'

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Haaretz
Israelis protesting against the Netanyahu government in Jerusalem, August 1, 2020.
Israelis protesting against the Netanyahu government in Jerusalem, August 1, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman
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Haaretz

Coalition whip and Likud lawmaker Miki Zohar on Tuesday morning accused the protesters against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being paid off – but admitted his claims were based only on rumors.

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In an interview with Kan Bet radio, Zohar said: “10,000 protesters against Netanyahu, I heard some of them are paid by groups that are hostile to the right-wing government.” When asked by the host, journalist Aryeh Golan, who was paying the protesters, Zohar said: “There are all sorts of rumors.”

Pressed for more precisions, Zohar said: “I also saw Palestinian flags at these protests, and when they say ‘enough of the occupation,’ I don’t see an authentic protest there.” Later, when Golan persisted, Zohar said: “I heard … I won’t name names now because these things are being looked into. I heard that even Ehud Barak is involved in these demonstrations.”

When asked what could be the problem with a former prime minister being involved in demonstrations, Zohar responded: “I don’t think Ehud Barak is a fan of Netanyahu, someone who wants him to succeed – the opposite, he wants to block Netanyahu in any way possible. It would be better if he first did some soul-searching; just recently we heard all sorts of very, very problematic things regarding Jeffrey Epstein. I recommend that he does some soul-searching before he comes and tries to criticize the prime minister, and in honesty maybe try to remove him – we will not allow it.”

Zohar called the protesters “anarchists” and said the members of the Crime Minister protest movement are motivated by hate and “they have no problem that half of Israel will be infected with the coronavirus.” After Golan told him that there is a very low chance of outdoor infection, Zohar said: “When there are thousands of people who come to protest it is dangerous and it endangers the public’s health, so these demonstrations are unacceptable as far as I’m concerned.” He proposed allowing protests in groups of 50 people. “As far as I’m concerned, 200 sites with 50 people.”

Likud coalition whip Miki Zohar during a session of the Knesset Coronavirus Committee, Jerusalem, July 2020.Credit: Adina Waldman / Knesset Spokesperson's Office

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