Netanyahu's attacks on press, institutions are taking toll on Israeli society, journalist says

Journalist Neri Zilber said in an interview that aired Thursday on Hill.TV's "Rising" that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attacks on the news media and other institutions has taken a toll on Israeli society. 

"Netanyahu is a very effective communicator in general, but he also likes to raise various threats both to himself, to right-wing rule in Israel to kind of deflect," Zilber, an adjunct fellow at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton earlier this month.

"It's actually taking a toll, I would argue, on the fabric of society, the tenor of politics here has gotten a lot more negative in recent years," he continued. 

"Nothing that American viewers aren't familiar with, but it's been going on here in Israel for quite some time," he said, referring to the political climate in the U.S. 

"Netanyahu has been doing this for quite some time, even going back to the nineties [during] his first term as prime minister," he added. "He very much used the media as a boogeyman. He kind of used it as a scapegoat for his own troubles, and tried to deflect any criticisms of his own rule, any legal troubles that he had even back then."

Israel's legislative body, the Knesset, voted to dissolve in December, spurring a period of campaigns before elections are held in April.

The upcoming elections raise the possibility of a potential challenge to Netanyahu, who faces allegations of corruption.

 Julia Manchester