Channel 12 news suspended anchor Rina Matsliah for one week on Sunday after she claimed during a broadcast that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters have said during interviews that “even if he raped my daughter I would still vote for him.”
The decision was announced after Matsliah left the office of the network’s CEO Avi Weiss, who had summoned the veteran anchor for a meeting after she made the remark Saturday night, drawing fury from Netanyahu and his allies.
Netanyahu, who has regularly clashed with Matsliah, denounced the comments on Twitter, saying that her “disgusting hatred for Likud voters and me has reached new lows” and that the anchor was an “absolute disgrace.”
Matsliah appeared to apologize at the end of the “Meet the Press” show she hosts, saying “it’s possible that the [example] I gave was not very good.” Channel 12 put out a statement saying it “disapproves of the harsh statement voiced earlier this evening.”
Lawmakers from Netanyahu’s Likud party slammed Matsliah and called for her ouster.
“This evening you raped the honor of a million Likud voters,” Transportation Minister Miri Regev wrote on Twitter. “You keep striking at the right-wing camp and prime minister in a terrible and despicable manner and this evening all lines have been crossed.”
Netanyahu and his supporters frequently lash out at Channel 12 news for what they claim is a bias against the prime minister and his party. The channel led in reporting on leaks from criminal investigations into the premier in recent years, fueling claims of a leftist media/law enforcement conspiracy to bring him down.