'They are trying to circumvent democracy and topple us without elections'

Full text of Netanyahu’s speech at Likud rally

PM accuses media and Israel’s left-wing of attempting a putsch to remove him from power

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife Sara and Likud party members at a rally in his support, in Tel Aviv, on August 9, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife Sara and Likud party members at a rally in his support, in Tel Aviv, on August 9, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The full text of an address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to an August 9 Likud rally in Tel Aviv, called to show support for him as he battles several corruption allegations.

Dear friends,

Thank you for coming from all over the country. You have touched me. I love you.

A special thank you to coalition chair, David Bitan, for initiating and organizing this event.

Thank you, my friends, the ministers, my dear Knesset members, mayors, [Likud] branch heads, branch members. I thank you all for your tremendous support for me, and my beloved wife, Sara, who has stood with me all along the way.

Friends, in the past few days, you’ve strengthened us with [more] support and love than I can remember. And I’ve been in this place for many years already. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This morning, one of you wisely told me, “Bibi, they don’t want to just take you down, they want to take us all down, Likud and the nationalist camp.”

He said to me — listen carefully — “They know that they can’t beat us at the ballots, so they are trying to circumvent democracy and topple us without elections.”

I say to you, it is not for nothing. We keep winning in the ballots because we’ve brought Israel to the best place it has ever been in Israel’s history.

We have turned our country into a rising world power, in security, in intelligence, in cyber, in economics, in technology, in so many areas.

You recall that the fake news media repeats ad nauseum, in a massive and united chorus, as always, that if we don’t withdraw from areas of our historical homeland we will be isolated, weakened, and abandoned.

You remember the cries — “isolation, isolation, isolation.”

Likud party supporters at a rally in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he and his wife face legal investigations, held in Tel Aviv, August 9, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Likud party supporters at a rally in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he and his wife face legal investigations, held in Tel Aviv, August 9, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

What did that old man with a new beard [Ehud Barak] say? He was prime minister for a short time, not one of the most successful. He said, “The political tsunami is on its way.” What tsunami? What isolation? What foolishness!

The State of Israel is experiencing a time of unprecedented political prosperity. The flow of visits to Israel and the flow of invitations for me to go overseas are unprecedented. India, China, United States, and Africa, every continent, countless countries.

Both the left and the media — and they are the same thing — know this. So they are now involved in an unprecedented, obsessive witch hunt against me and against my family, with the goal of achieving a coup against the government. Their aim is to put false nonstop pressure on the legal system to get an indictment at any price, without any connection to the truth, without any connection to justice.

The thought police in the media works full-time, 24/7, to set the agenda, and everyone needs to line up according to this agenda, and woe to anyone who veers from it.

Today I read a post from a wise man, and he raised the question that you asked, David [Bitan]. He said, “How is it that they have to investigate the prime minister over his conversations with the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, but they don’t have to investigate the 10 MKs who proposed the law and dozens of others who voted for the law to close Israel Hayom, which would have earned millions, or even hundreds of millions, for that [Yedioth] publisher.”

By the way, many of those MKs received positive media coverage. The left-wing commentators of course say that this doesn’t need to be investigated. What a celebration of hypocrisy, what sanctimoniousness, what a double standard.

But it is not surprising. You saw the sign at the left-wing rallies — “Netanyahu is guilty until proven innocent.”

Listen carefully to what the organizer of the left-wing protests said there in Petah Tikva. “We won’t be able to take down Netanyahu through elections, so let’s bring him down through investigations.” I am quoting him.

[The left say that] we have no Russians [supporting us], we have no Mizrahi [Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent], we have no [residents of the periphery], we have no flag-bearers, we are in trouble. But, my friends, we are not in trouble. We have Mizrahim, we have Ashkenazim [Jews of European descent], we have new immigrants and we have veteran [Israelis], we have non-religious people and we have religious people. We have Amona and we have Dimona.

We have the Jewish people and we proudly bear the Israeli flag, and we will continue to wave it for many more years.

It is hard for the media, and the left which serves it, to accept this. So they invent an infinite number of affairs, an infinite number of headlines, so that maybe, maybe, something will stick. If not the submarines then the cigars, if not the cigars then the conversations with the publisher. If not Case 1000 then Case 2000. If not 2000 then 3000, 4000 or 5000. They demand that the legal system give them something, it doesn’t matter what.

Now friends, it is only natural that I cannot respond to every stupidity dredged up by this media flood, but you certainly remember, that this is not the first time that the media chorus has used this offensive of a fictitious cloud of corruption.

In 1992 they managed to bring down [then-Likud Prime Minister] Yitzhak Shamir with false accusations of corruption. And they brought us the tragedy of Oslo [peace accords] and bus bombings. In 1999 [when Netanyahu lost his first reelection bid] they returned to the same offensive with NGOs supporting [Ehud] Barak, [promising] the dawn of a new day, a dawn that brought us the Second Intifada and more than 1,000 Israeli deaths.

Now they are trying to repeat this, but this time with more cunning. And they are doing it not only to me, but also to my wife. They won’t tell the public that she supports and helps bereaved families, Holocaust survivors, children suffering from cancer — that they won’t say.

Instead they prefer to talk about the most important things in the world — the procedure for changing a lightbulb, the TV dinners, the cup of tea that was brought to her righteous 97-year-old father lying on his death bed. What an embarrassment.

Morning, afternoon and evening they have explosive headlines. New details, dramatic developments, a parade of those interrogated. I want to tell you that there are rumors, which reached me just now, that soon the media will demand that [my dog] Kaia be questioned under caution.

I can only tell you what I’ve said from the first day. There will be nothing [found] because there is nothing [there].

I know that what I’ve said will upset a few people. For example, two days ago we heard [in Haaretz] that senior Palestinian officials, and I quote, “hope the investigations will bring down Netanyahu.” It is clear. They also want Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines, and build a Palestinian state on the borders of Kfar Saba.

But I’m forced to disappoint someone else. I have to also disappoint Haaretz newspaper, which this morning published an editorial that offered to withhold all criticism. “Just pull out from the West Bank and we’ll leave you alone.” So here is my answer — No! No thank you.

If the left wants to confront us with its politics and economics, it can do so at the ballot box and in the next elections.

With God’s help and with your help, we will not receive 30 seats but 40 seats!

Thank you my friends, for all your support, for the love, for the strength, for standing together. I thank you all very much.

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