Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Noam Moskowitz
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Likud MKs plan media counter-attack over 'Bibi-tours'

Embarrassing reports of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's travel habits have Likud MKs working on media campaign meant to protect PM from aftermath of harsh criticism

Several Likud Knesset members are apparently gearing to launch a media counter-attack following the recent, politically embarrassing reports regarding the financing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trips abroad.


The affair, dubbed "Bibi tours," has raised several ethical questions regarding the prime minister's conduct, as according to suppositions, he erred in allowing private businessmen to fund hid trips.


State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is currently looking into the matter, and said he plans on asking the State Control Committee for extended authorities on the matter. Netanyahu has called the report "slanderous."


A source close Netanyahu, Ynet learned Friday, has summoned several Likud MKs to a special strategy meeting, meant to devise a "counter attack."


Among those invited to the meeting were MKs Ofir Akunis, Carmel Shama Hacohen, and Tzipi Hotovely, to name a few. The team will try and formulate a media response mechanism meant to protect the prime minister and counterbalance the harsh criticism Netanyahu has found himself under.


The affair, first revealed by Channel 10 News, has caused major embarrassment within the Likud. Sarah Netanyahu, the prime minister's wife, spoke of the matter for the first time on Thursday, saying the slandering of her husband and herself "has become some sort of sanctimoniousness ritual and it has to stop.


"There is clear intention to harm the prime minister here, and the easiest way to get to him is through me. This is another attempt to twist my image and I've had enough."


Likud MKs who serve on the State Control Committee might find themselves facing a conflict of interest: already, at their request, the committee will reexamine the extended authorities afforded to the state comptroller's deputy in investigating the funding of past travels by the prime minister. Still, they have to tread carefully, so not to be seen as undermining the

comptroller's efforts to fight corruption.


"The comptroller should widen his examination of public figures' travel habits and not focus solely on one person," said MK Hotovely. "A single-minded report would most likely carry a very acrid political odor. It is unfitting for the comptroller to investigate only the prime minister and his wife."


Roni Sofer contributed to this report




פרסום ראשון: 04.01.11, 11:10
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