Anchor blasted for saying Likud voters would back PM even if he were a rapist

Netanyahu calls Channel 12’s Rina Matsliah an ‘absolute disgrace’ after she claims supporters said they’d vote for him ‘even if he raped my daughter’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) is interviewed by Rina Matsliah on Channel 12, September 14, 2019. (Channel 12 screenshot)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) is interviewed by Rina Matsliah on Channel 12, September 14, 2019. (Channel 12 screenshot)

Channel 12 news anchor Rina Matsliah came under fire Saturday evening for claiming during an on-air rant against Likud voters that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters have said during interviews that “even if he raped my daughter I would still vote for him.”

Netanyahu, who has regularly clashed with Matsliah, denounced the comments on Twitter, saying that the senior anchor’s “disgusting hatred for Likud voters and me has reached new lows.”

He said that Matsliah was an “absolute disgrace.”

Matsliah later apologized for the comments made during the program “Meet the Press,” which she hosts. Channel 12 put out a statement saying it “disapproves of the harsh statement voiced earlier this evening.”

The company said that Matsliah had been summoned for a “clarification” phone call Sunday morning with Channel 12 news CEO Avi Weiss.

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 consistently 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 his claims of a leftist media/law enforcement conspiracy to bring him down.

The outspoken Matsliah has previously come under fire from Netanyahu and others for other controversial remarks, most recently for saying ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t respect the state’s authority.

Speaking during a news roundtable on “Meet the Press” in April, Matsliah said that the virus crisis marked an opportunity for the state to shift the way it deals with the ultra-Orthodox community, which she said has never accepted the state’s authority: “The Haredim need to learn, they need to accept the state, for the better or for the worse… This relationship must change. It cannot continue that the ultra-Orthodox feel the state’s authority doesn’t apply to them.”

When fellow anchors Dana Weiss and Danny Kushmaro interrupted her to say that she could not tar a whole community, she shot back: “I’ll say what I want. And I say that most of the Haredim are controlled by rabbis who are controlled by wheeler-dealers… And to anyone who might say this is hate [speech] toward the ultra-Orthodox — no. This is love and care for the state.”

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