Israel's Netanyahu takes aim at media in webcast

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

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

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

The inaugural webcast on Sunday, which aired on 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 modeling 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 oppositional media.

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

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.

Netanyahu has enjoyed a warm relationship with 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, 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 prime minister's legal problems.

Police have recommended indicting Netanyahu on three corruption cases, and Israel's attorney general is expected to announce his decision whether or not to charge him before the April 9 elections.

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