Israel: Netanyahu attacks ‘smear campaign’

Benjamin Netanyahu was decribed as being 'paranoid'. Picture: Getty

Benjamin Netanyahu was decribed as being 'paranoid'. Picture: Getty

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ISRAELI prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday accused a newspaper publisher of carrying out a smear campaign against him in the hope of pushing him out of office.

Mr Netanyahu took to Facebook to attack Noni Mozes of the Yediot Ahronot daily, claiming the publisher launched the campaign to advance his own personal business interests.

Yediot and its sister news site Ynet have taken an aggressive stand against the Israeli prime minister, exposing what they called several political and personal “scandals” ahead of the 17 March election.

Mr Netanyahu said Mr Mozes was trying to get even with Yediot’s rival, the pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom, and reclaim his dominance in the Israeli media landscape.

The Israeli premier said Mr Mozes was behind the “ridiculous, orchestrated defamation” against Mr Netanyahu and his wife in an attempt to remove his Likud party from power.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” posted Mr Netanyahu and promised more details later.

Mr Netanyahu often accuses the media of being biased against him and treating his wife unfairly.

In recent weeks, he has come under fire for the way he handled a planned speech before Congress that created a rift with the Obama administration.

His wife has also been scrutinised for expense in their taxpayer-funded home and alleged abusive behaviour toward staff.

Yediot columnist Nahum Barnea told Israel Radio that Netanyahu was “paranoid”. Yediot had long had the largest distribution in Israel before it was surpassed in recent years by Israel Hayom, a free daily.

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