Netanyahu Defends His Critique of the Police, Calling Leaks and Criticism 'Fake News'

Responding to critics, prime minister says his comments are legitimate, not a threat against the rule of law

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on October 15, 2017.
ABIR SULTAN/AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again lashed out against the police investigating him on corruption charges, taking to Facebook to defend his initial attack and saying it was a legitimate response to leaks from the investigation.

The prime minister also dismissed criticism that his comments were an attempt to stifle the rule of law and labeled reports criticizing his choice to attack the police as "fake news."

>> Netanyahu's targeting of Israel's police chief means criminal probes are heating up | Analysis <<

Netanyahu accused the police of making a "180 degree" turn after hiring an external media adviser named for what he said was a massive cost to Israel taxpayers.

"Since when is criticism of illegal leaks and the problem of a political consultant for millions of shekels a violation of law enforcement or police? More fake news," he said.

On Saturday, Netanyahu spoke out against the police following a news report on Channel Two that said that he would soon be summoned for questioning in at least two high-profile corruption cases.

In Saturday’s Facebook post, Netanyahu wrote that when Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich took office, he made two important decisions: No more leaks from investigations and no more police recommendations to prosecutors. But since the external adivser was appointed, he wrote, "illegal leaks have become a tsunami."

The Israel Police said in response: "The police are doing their job according to the law. We will not be pulled into unfounded wars that were intended to obstruct the police's work and undermine the legitimacy of the rule of law."