Top Israeli Journalist Rebuffs Netanyahu Anger at Expose: 'I'm Not Ahmadinejad, Why Is He So Angry?'

Ilana Dayan accuses the Prime Minister's Office of deciding to attack her even before seeing her expose about his inner sanctum.

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Ilana Dayan.
Ilana Dayan.Credit: Tali Mayer

Israeli television journalist Ilana Dayan said on Tuesday she found it illogical for a prime minister as strong as Benjamin Netanyahu to take such offense at her expose about his bureau, broadcast on Channel 2 television on Monday.

Dayan told Army Radio that Netanyahu "is not my enemy, and I'm not his enemy, either, I don't threaten him."

"I'm not Ahmadinejad, nor Gideon Saar or Yisrael Katz. I want to cover him, I must cover him. If I could sit with the prime minister, I know him for more than 25 years, I would tell him: You're such a strong prime minister it isn't possible that you're so fearful of me, it isn't logical."

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former Iranian president, denied the Holocaust and famously threatened to destroy Israel some years ago, a remark which played a key role in an ensuing crisis over Israel's demands to halt Iran's nuclear programme. 

Katz is Israel's transportation minister and a rival of Netanyahu's in the Likud party. Sa'ar, a former cabinet minister, strongly criticized Netanyahu live on national television after resigning from a previous government.

Dayan's program, Uvda, presented testimony about Netanyahu's dependence on his wife, Sara,  her involvement in senior appointments and attempts to participate in sensitive discussions. 

Also exposed on the show was testimony from figures close to the deputy Mossad chief who had been one of the candidates for Mossad head, who implied that Netanyahu hadn't promoted the deputy to the role of Mossad chief because he wouldn't pledge his fealty to the prime minister.

Dayan read out a scathing response by Netanyahu's office to the show.

"They decided that the program was a personal attack on the prime minister, before they even saw it," Dayan said in her interview on Tuesday.

"How did I become an extreme leftist overnight, because I dared to do a critical story about the Prime Minister's Office?"