JERUSALEM, Israel – U.S. President Donald Trump isn't the only one who is having trouble with the media. Amidst the growing allegations against him, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he's been maligned by "fake news," propagated in large part by leftist media.
On Friday, Netanyahu's former chief of Staff Ari Harow agreed to become a state witness against him, though he said he's been accused "of a transgression unconnected with the prime minister and one that in my opinion I didn't do."
"I did not think at the time that these were criminal offenses, and even now I don't," YNet quoted Harow as saying.
Several government ministers voiced support for Netanyahu in the wake of the latest police probes accusing him of fraud, corruption and bribery.
"Israel needs stability and we need to support its national government, and we are committed to its continuation," Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement Sunday.
Environmental Protection Minister Ze'ev Elkin also spoke on behalf of the prime minister, brushing off a recent poll saying a majority of the public are convinced of his guilt, which he called a reaction to ongoing media reports claiming he's "already been convicted."
"Netanyahu cannot present his version of things," Arutz Sheva quoted Elkin's interview with an Israeli radio station. "Everyone shows only the version that accuses him so it's an unfair contest."
The latest investigations against Netanyahu include Case 1000, alleging that he and his wife, Sara, accepted lavish gifts of cigars and champagne from Hollywood moviemaker Arnon Milchan.
Case 2000 accuses Netanyahu of trying to proffer a deal with Yediot Ahronot publisher Noni (Arnon) Mosez to modify the paper's negative reports against him and the government.
Less than a month ago, Netanyahu told members of his Likud Party he was the target of "a coordinated campaign of leftists" wanting to undermine the government, JTA reported.
According to the report, Netanyahu named Israel's Channels 2 and 10 and newspapers Ha'aretz and Yediot Ahronot and the Walla web portal.
"The fake news method is simple: They paste a picture of the prime minister on bombshell headlines with baseless accusations and expect this brainwashing will do the work on public opinion," he wrote.
"To their dismay these days, this doesn't go for them because the people of Israel have the chance to say their opinion and the truth – and expose the lies on social media."
Trump, known for his affinity for social media, has cited CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post for publishing fake news.
This past May, Netanyahu accused CNN and the New York Times, among others, of fake news in their reports on Hamas, the Palestinian terror group ruling the Gaza Strip.