Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Benjamin Netanyahu adopts Trumpian tone against media in webcast

The fifteen-minute broadcast took place on Facebook, attracting 6,000 live viewers

The webcast follows the release of billboards showing the Israeli leader shaking hands with Donald Trump. EPA
The webcast follows the release of billboards showing the Israeli leader shaking hands with Donald Trump. EPA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday launched a new weekly webcast to "get rid of the fake from the news" before national elections in April.

In a video shared on social media on Saturday, Mr Netanyahu said the webcast will "only cover the reality, and I will continue to ensure that it will be positive".

The inaugural webcast, which aired on Mr Netanyahu and his Likud party's official Facebook pages, featured the prime minister fielding questions from Eliraz Sade, a reality television personality, and drew around 6,000 viewers.

The prime minister appears to be modelling the idea on President Donald Trump's "Real News Update", a weekly webcast on Facebook hosted by the president's daughter-in-law to counterbalance what the administration deems an opposition media.

The clip makes dismissive references to the police investigations into alleged corruption by the prime minister.

Mr Netanyahu has long had a rocky relationship with the media and accuses it, along with police and prosecutors, of being part of a witch hunt to force him from office.

Mr Netanyahu has enjoyed a warm relationship with Mr Trump. On Sunday, his Likud party posted a massive billboard on the side of a Jerusalem building showing the two men standing together. It said: "Netanyahu. A different league."

In Sunday's quarter-hour broadcast, Mr Netanyahu touted his accomplishments as prime minister in the past ten years. He claimed credit for stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, called Israel an energy superpower, argued that the last decade was "the most successful" for national security in Israel's history and said his ruling Likud party was "the only democratic party" in the country.

Notably absent from the interview was any mention of the prime minister's legal problems.

Police have recommended indicting Mr Netanyahu on three corruption cases, and Israel's attorney general is expected to announce his decision on whether to charge him before the April 9 elections.

Updated: February 4, 2019 11:04 AM