Netanyahu Apologizes to Reporter for Mocking Him

YERUSHALAYIM (AP/Hamodia) -

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized to an Israeli reporter in a phone call after mocking him in a speech.

Netanyahu mimicked veteran journalist Moshe Nussbaum of Channel 2 News — who has been covering the prime minister’s ongoing corruption investigations — in a speech to his Likud party on Tuesday. Nussbaum told Army Radio on Thursday that he told Netanyahu he was not offended.

“Netanyahu called me to apologize,” Nussbaum said. “He said, ‘I didn’t intend to offend you personally, and if you were offended I apologize. Definitely apologize.’”

The prime minister had made fun of Nussbaum, mimicking his well-known reportorial style and facial expressions.

An Israeli government official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with protocol, confirmed the call.

Meanwhile, in fallout from the same speech, in which Netanyahu had again lashed out against the police investigations and predictions they will recommend an indictment against him, Police Chief Roni Alsheich said on Thursday that his department is not a party to the debate.

“[Police] are not part of this discourse,” Alsheich said at a ceremony marking the changing of commanders for the Coastal District.

“We need to do our professional work. It is what we do and it is what we will continue to do,” he vowed.

Netanyahu told his supporters: “If there will be recommendations [to indict] — so what? “Here’s a fact I doubt the public knows: The vast majority of police recommendations end with nothing. More than 60 percent of police recommendations are thrown out.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, whose office oversees police operations, was not happy with Netanyahu’s comments.

“I am not satisfied with all of his statements, and I am not satisfied with the style or the interpretation that can emerge from these statements,” said Erdan, in the Knesset plenum.

“I say from this podium that I think police are doing their job and I do not question their role,” adding that Netanyahu’s remarks required a more “in-depth explanation.”