Natan Eshel
Natan EshelHadas Parush/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s close adviser, Natan Eshel, referred to Culture Minister Miri Regev as a “beast”, according to a recording revealed on Saturday by journalist Ilana Dayan on Channel 12 News.

In the recording, Eshel is heard discussing the Likud’s campaign strategy with an unnamed person whom he is trying to recruit as a political adviser. Eshel is heard saying that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s decision to indict Netanyahu in three corruption cases actually helped Netanyahu in his election campaign.

"I'll tell you, what happened in the last election, to my delight, is that, even though Avichai came out two weeks before the election and stated that [Netanyahu] is an offender, oh, he went up 20 percent,” Eshel is heard saying.

“If you haven’t stolen, what exactly have you come [into politics] for? We looked into this. And to my shock, they do not understand about going into politics to do what’s good for the nation. [They think] you go into politics in order to steal and you need to be a man,” he continues.

“Now, in this public – I’ll call them the ‘non-Ashkenazi’, yes, what gets them worked up? Why do they hate the media? They hate everything. That hatred is what unites ... our camp," Eshel is heard saying, presumably referring to the support the Likud receives from the Mizrahi Jews.

At that point, Eshel refers to Regev, calling her a "beast," but also complimenting her for being able to stir up Likud voters.

"Miri Regev does a great job. The fact that she is a beast…uh, forget it, but she does a great job. Because she stirs up…like that person in soccer who stands and waves at the crowd [to make more noise]. And it works,” he says.

Later on Saturday night, Netanyahu rebuked Eshel’s comments while stressing that he had apologized for them.

"I called and made it clear to Nathan Eshel that his remarks are inappropriate and unacceptable to me. He apologized for his remarks immediately. The Likud is home to all parts of Israeli society and that will always be the case,” said Netanyahu.

"I really value Minister Miri Regev who does an excellent job for the people and the state and brings a lot of respect to the Likud. What Nathan Eshel said about her – is shameful and unworthy. I will not accept it,” he added.