Sara Netanyahu pushing to oust English-language spokesman Eylon Levy — report

PM’s wife wants Levy out as spokesperson over past criticism of Netanyahu and participation in protests against judicial overhaul, according to unsourced Channel 12 report

Sara Netanyahu in Jerusalem, May 18, 2023 (L) and official Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90 / Haim Zach/GPO)
Sara Netanyahu in Jerusalem, May 18, 2023 (L) and official Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90 / Haim Zach/GPO)

The prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, is reportedly seeking to have a prominent English-language government spokesman fired over past criticism of the premier, as well as over his participation in protests against the judicial overhaul over the course of last year.

Eylon Levy, who entered the role in the wake of the October 7 Hamas massacre after working as a journalist as well as an adviser to President Isaac Herzog, has become a familiar face on many US and UK TV networks presenting a defense of the Jewish state and Israeli activity over the past several months.

An unsourced Channel 12 report on Sunday said officials have decided to minimize Levy’s appearances immediately and he is expected to be fully removed from the position within a few weeks. The official reason, Channel 12 stated, is the government’s desire to present a more diverse face to the international media.

But the report claimed that the prime minister’s wife is the real force pushing to oust Levy, due to past social media posts that were highly critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the government.

Levy did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

The National Public Diplomacy Directorate said the TV report was untrue.

Levy, 32, was born in London to Israeli parents. He immigrated to Israel in August 2014, at the age of 23, to volunteer in Operation Protective Edge, which ended soon after his arrival.

He served in the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) as the aide-de-camp of the civil department.

He later worked as a news anchor for the Israel Broadcasting Authority in English and for i24News, and then as the international media adviser to Herzog, before joining the National Public Diplomacy Directorate.

In 2023, after leaving his post working with the president, Levy was one of hundreds of thousands of Israelis who took part in weekly protests against the Netanyahu coalition’s plan to overhaul the judiciary and curb its independent powers. Demonstrations and protests were held weekly almost all year up until Hamas’s shock onslaught on October 7, when thousands of terrorists invaded southern Israel by land, sea, and air, and murdered some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in a killing spree that lasted hours. They also took 253 hostages of all ages into Gaza.

In his role as government spokesperson, Levy had a few viral moments while on air, including one in November in which he raised his eyebrows in shock and remained silent for a moment in response to a question by a Sky News presenter. The raised eyebrows moment later became a meme.

Eylon Levy is taken aback during a Sky news interview in November 2023 (X screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

In an interview with The Times of Israel in December, Levy said he knew he was making an impact when he reached close to 145,000 followers on Twitter (he’s now at close to 175,000), and on Instagram, he went from a private account to one with over 170,000 followers.

But virality comes with a price tag and Levy said his accounts have been under a sustained attack by bots (likely from Indonesia), and his Instagram account was suspended for about 12 hours, apparently due to reports organized by such bots.

“All this madness happened in the most terrible and crazy circumstances imaginable. So sometimes it’s uncomfortable for me – they’re making fun of my eyebrows, and soldiers are dying, and we’re at war, and they’re still identifying bodies from the October 7 massacre,” he said.

“Sometimes, in difficult moments, I ask myself, ‘What do you need this adventure for?’ There [in the UK], you can live a quiet life, without hassles. But then I remember that I have an important role in the story we are creating here, and it gives me a very serious Zionist drive. It reminds me why we have a country, why we need to fight for it, and why we cannot afford to raise our hands and give up,” he told Zman Yisrael.

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