Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin NetanyahuAmos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening held a special interview on Channel 13 News, in which he addressed the ongoing political crisis, his legal proceedings, his plan for the COVID-19 crisis, and his recent conversation with President Joe Biden.

Netanyahu said: "30 heads of state called me to congratulate me on our crisis management strategy. They told me, 'You will be the first country in the world to get out of this mess'. In New Zealand and Australia, island nations with no land borders at all, they are still stuck in lockdown. There is no need for anyone else to die.”

On the criticism of the way the crisis is being handled, Netanyahu said: "The public understands that I have done something no one else could. The Israeli media constantly presents failures, but the global media behaves the other way around. Our economy is ranked among the highest in developed countries. We could help the tens of thousands of small businesses still fighting to stay afloat, but for my political rivals and legal advisors.”

"I'm not disconnected from the public at all - I go to falafel stands, optician's shops and bakeries all the time. People say to me, 'Thank you for your help.' I have another NIS 15 billion I want to give to businesses and the self-employed and the nation’s employers, but the politicians and legal advisors are in the way. On the first day of the next government, I'm going to give those 15 billion to the citizens because they deserve it. The money is there, I'm willing to transfer it right now.”.

The Prime Minister sets little store by the polls. "I suggest waiting for the election, not the polls," he said. "We have a historic opportunity to build a full-fledged right-wing government, without including a fifth column. No one wants another rotation of Prime Ministers. We can have either a fully right-wing government, or a rotation of Lapid, Sa’ar, and Bennett.”

"The prosecution against me has nothing more than fabrications, thrown together in haste to remove a Prime Minister too strong to be bested fairly. Additionally, I am legally permitted to speak to the witnesses in these cases. I will not ask for immunity in the next government; the cases are flimsy enough as is. I will focus on vaccines instead.”

To the allegations made against him, Netanyahu replied: "I buy myself things. My friends buy me things. I don’t measure my value in gifts, I measure it in the endless attacks from the media and the number of people we have managed to get vaccinated. Two and a half thousand years ago, another oppressor tried to destroy the Jews by spreading lies. It failed then and it will fail again."

"I do not leave Israeli security in the hands of any other power," he claimed. "Biden and I are, nevertheless, close friends. We talked a lot about Iran, for a whole hour. I told him that with or without an agreement, my duty as Israeli Prime Minister is to prevent the recurrence of atrocities committed against our people. There is a regime here that has made our destruction its rallying cry, and I will do everything I can to prevent it from attaining nuclear weapons. I warned him that relying on agreements in such circumstances is a mistake, and that I would trust no one else with Israel’s security.”

"President Trump was a huge friend of Israel," Netanyahu said of the former president. "He has done wonderful things for the State of Israel and I am grateful for them.” Regarding his occasional hostile stances towards the media, he said, "I hit back at the media because they deserve it. All they ever do is try to find fault everywhere.”