Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accusing the media of orchestrating a campaign intended to bring him down by giving unfair treatment to his wife and family.
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Indeed, it is not fair to attack the family of a candidate for prime minister only because they are related to the candidate. And yet, Netanyahu’s claim clashes with a report Tuesday in Haaretz by Barak Ravid. This report – which states that employees of the National Public Diplomacy Directorate were instructed during Netanyahu’s six years in office to monitor publications about his family as a high priority – reveals another case of the Netanyahu family using public resources for personal gain. The report indicates that employees of the directorate’s information and communications technology department were told by means of documents, emails and internal memos that reports involving the prime minister’s wife and sons were “more important than any other informative report,” and that items from gossip columns were “especially sensitive and it’s important to be aware of them ahead of anything else.”
In light of these directives given to employees of the department, which Seris firstly supposed to follow the media’s coverage of the government’s work, Netanyahu’s cries of injustice are ironic indeed.
The prime minister’s bureau issued the instruction that civil servants are to devote their time and energy to dealing with the premier’s family in a manner that recalls dictatorial regimes, those in which government workers fulfill essential roles in fostering the personality cult of the leader and his family.
This affair, which joins suspicions regarding improper use by the Netanyahu family of public resources, strengthens the impression that the Netanyahu family treats the Prime Minister’s Office a private asset.
The story of the state-employed media monitors is another marker on the slope of corruption down which the Netanyahu family is sliding. It is yet more proof that the Prime Minister’s Office under Netanyahu has abandoned its purpose – serving the state and its citizens – for that of satisfying this family’s demands.
The state comptroller, who, out of loyalty to the man who appointed him, has avoided a thorough investigation of the many suspicions involving allegedly improper conduct in the prime minister’s residence, must expand his probe into this area as well. The media monitors, like the household budget of the prime minister’s residence, are meant indirectly to serve the public at large, not the whims of Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara.