Yair Netanyahu didn’t mean to be offensive when he called anti-government protestors “aliens,” Benjamin Netanyahu said, jumping to his son’s defense. The Israeli PM added that some rallies against him have taken a “bizarre” form.

“There are also strange phenomena there, apart from on the political side, and, really, the relentless incitement against me, against my wife, against my family…” Netanyahu said of the ongoing demonstrations, which have been attended by thousands of people demanding his resignation.

I think [the protests are] a political thing which also has bizarre phenomena, and I think that’s what my son was referring to.

The PM’s son, Yair Netanyahu, found himself in hot water on Monday, after revealing on Galey Israel Radio that he’s been watching videos of the rallies with his father. “He sees what we all see – these aliens at the protests. It makes him laugh, like entertainment,” the 29-year-old said, describing his dad’s reaction.

The younger Netanyahu, an online activist, tried to effect some damage control on Twitter after the interview, insisting he hadn’t meant to dehumanize the demonstrators, but was rather speaking only about those among them “who dress up as aliens and UFOs” or in other costumes to protest.

But Bibi’s attempt to shield his son angered the organizers of the protests almost as much as the initial comment. They issued a statement saying the PM was having “a panic attack.”

“‘Bizarre’ is a prime minister who gives himself a tax break … while there are millions of unemployed at home. ‘Bizarre’ is when a criminal defendant is prime minister while dealing day and night with his own trial,” the statement read.

The protesters insist that Benjamin Netanyahu, who’s led Israel since 2009, must retire, accusing him of being corrupt and failing the country in his response to the coronavirus.

In November, the PM was charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of public trust – accusations he vigorously denies. Another source of public anger is the surge in unemployment caused by the strict Covid-19 lockdown introduced by Netanyahu, and the reluctance of the authorities to fulfill their promise of adequately aiding those affected.

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