In speech at the Knesset on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the left-wing opposition what he thinks of their criticism and their protest demonstrations.
Addressing a plenum discussion titled “The Collapse of Social Services,” Netanyahu said: “I heard the idle claims of the opposition. I heard claims from people who made claims about why I opened the economy — after they called for an opening and said that the coronavirus was an invented crisis. Even if I brought a vaccine for the coronavirus and world peace you would be asking here why I only did so now,” he said, as reported by Arutz Sheva.
“I want to tell my friends on the left, the facts don’t interest you. On the left, everything is political. The coronavirus is political, the economy is political, and so are the political demonstrations. They are organized by left-wing organizations, funded by left-wing foundations and receive disproportionate support from left-wing media. They take a quarter of the mandates the left received and present that as mass demonstrations.
“The eyes of the broadcasters sparkle as they broadcast from there. The broadcasters on the morning programs participate in the protests in the evenings. The media was recruited and is recruiting [for the protests]. We are told that the left-wing protests are ‘spontaneous.’ These are the most organized ‘spontaneous’ protests ever. These are demonstrations which are organized at luxury hotels and ivory towers.”
Despite heckling from opposition MKs, some of whom had to be ejected from the chamber, the prime minister continued:
“There is contempt for state symbols, there are calls for the murder of the prime minister and his family every day; and as if that is not enough — there are vulgar, shameful protests against my wife. The worst part of this is that none of you have condemned it! Are you not ashamed? Would any of you accept this if it was being done to your wives, to your family members? None of you have condemned these rude and despicable things, not the left-wing leaders Lapid and Odeh, and not any of the women’s organizations.
“In many countries around the world, the opposition is mobilizing to fight the coronavirus alongside the government. In Israel, it is the other way around. While we are fighting the disease, the left is fighting against the government,” he said.
Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid responded:
“Netanyahu, we paid for the chair you are sitting on at this moment. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the citizens of Israel. You don’t own this country. You’re in the service of the People. I am an employee, all of us, this whole building, are employed by the citizens of Israel.
“You know why [anti-government activists] are taking part in demonstrations? Because they are the ones in charge. It doesn’t belong to you — it’s theirs and they’ve come to let you know you’ve been fired,” said Lapid.