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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu railed on Sunday at swelling protests against his rule, saying they are egged on by a biased media that distorts facts and cheers on the demonstrators.

Netanyahu has faced a wave of protests in recent weeks, with demonstrators calling for the long-serving, indicted leader to resign and panning his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Netanyahu has painted the protests as dens of “anarchists” and “leftists” out to topple “a strong right-wing leader.”

The protests have largely been peaceful. In some cases they have ended with clashes between demonstrators and police. In others, small gangs of Netanyahu supporters and individuals affiliated with far-right groups have assaulted demonstrators.

In a six-minute rant at a meeting of his Cabinet, Netanyahu slammed the media for “inflaming” the protests and for misrepresenting incidents of violence against the protesters.

“There has never been such a distorted mobilization — I wanted to say Soviet but it has already reached North Korean terms — of the media in favor of the protests,” he said.

Netanyahu said the media ignored “wild and unfettered incitement, including daily calls — including the day before yesterday — to murder the prime minister and his family.”

He said the protests were breeding grounds for the virus that were being allowed to take place with no limits, shutting down streets and neighborhoods. He said right-wing protests have not been given such free rein.

He condemned violence “from all sides” at the start of his remarks before tearing into the media he has long viewed as hostile toward him.

Also at the Cabinet meeting, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who is the country’s “alternate” prime minister under a power-sharing deal, said the protests must be allowed to take place with protesters shielded from violence.

“The right to protest is the lifeblood of democracy and violence is the erosion of the foundation of democracy,” he said.

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Netanyahu’s tirade came as his son Yair Netanyahu was summoned to a Jerusalem court after tweeting the names, addresses and phone numbers of prominent protesters, calling his followers to demonstrate outside their homes “day and night.” The court granted the 28-year-old Netanyahu an exemption from appearing in court. Protesters said they received threatening calls after the tweet.

Throughout the summer, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets, calling for Netanyahu to resign, protesting his handling of the country’s coronavirus crisis and saying he should not remain in office while on trial for corruption charges. Though Netanyahu has tried to play down the protests, the twice-a-week gatherings show no signs of slowing and Saturday night’s Jerusalem gathering drew more than 10,000 people.

The rallies against Netanyahu are the largest Israel has seen since 2011 protests over the country’s high cost of living.

After moving quickly to contain the virus last spring, many believe Israel reopened its economy too quickly, leading to a surge in cases. The country is now coping with record levels of coronavirus, while unemployment has surged to over 20%.

Netanyahu faces charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in a series of scandals involving wealthy associates and media moguls. He denies wrongdoing.

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Proud Boys member may face jail time after Seattle CHOP assault, crossing state lines to Portland protests

A member of the far-right group Proud Boys accused of an assault near what once was Seattle’s self-declared autonomous zone may be thrown in jail for one year after allegedly violating the terms of his probation agreement by crossing state lines to visit mass protests in Portland, according to reports.

Tusitala "Tiny" Toese, 24, of Vancouver, Wash., reportedly has a reputation for picking street fights with members of the far-left militant group Antifa. He was convicted on an assault charge after punching a man named Tim Ledwith in the face on a Northeast Portland sidewalk in June 2018.

He’s since been accused of violating the terms of his probation agreement multiple times over the past few months, including crossing state lines between Oregon and Washington during times of civil unrest and mass protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.


On Tuesday, his probation officer asked an Oregon judge to sign a warrant for Toese's arrest, revoke his probation and sentence him to one year in jail, KOMO reported.

Toese was arrested in June for allegedly beating a man near the area Seattle protesters declared the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ. People occupied the six city blocks later renamed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or the CHOP, for weeks before unchecked crime and fatal shootings forced police to reclaim an abandoned police precinct, dismantle barriers and make dozens of arrests.

A probation officer for Tusitala "Tiny" Toese, 24, of Vancouver, Wash., asked an Oregon judge to sign a warrant for Toese's arrest, revoke his probation and sentence him to one year in jail. (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

His probation officer, Heather Fowler, said she was made aware of the alleged assault when she began receiving several emails that “included a link to a video, which shows Mr. Toese push another man while some of his associates punch the man and throw the man's cellphone to the ground, breaking it. Another video shows Mr. Toese and his group walking through the CHAZ area."

Toese, who lives in southwest Washington, also traveled to Oregon without first seeking permission and visited Portland on June 4, Fowler said. He spent a night in the Multnomah County Jail on June 23 but was released the next day with an ankle monitor to track his GPS location, Willamette Week reported.


Despite being under house arrest, Toese’s GPS showed he traveled outside of Clark County, Wash. He also failed to charge his ankle monitor, missed a meeting with his probation officer and refused to provide her with information in regards to where he was staying.

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