6

A Vox article seems to imply so:

And just hours before the nation-state law was passed, Netanyahu met with Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Israel. The two have bonded over their shared loathing of anything connected to the liberal, Jewish, Hungarian-born financier George Soros, as well as their shared anti-refugee views.

So was there any criticism from Netanyahu directed at Soros or at least specifically against something Soros said? (I know Orbán uses Soros as a scapegoat in Hungary; that part of the claim from Vox didn't surprise me.)

  • 1
    Also, for context, here is an article that explains in detail why Netanyahu - and plenty of other pro-Israel people both inside and outside Israel - dislike Soros: mosaicmagazine.com/picks/2017/07/… – user4012 Aug 13 '18 at 6:44
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    Mentioning Orbán as far-right shows that the writer either doesn't have a clue, or is strongly biased. The definition of how far to the right someone is, is not how much you hate him. Orbán is by all definitions center-right. – vsz Aug 13 '18 at 8:01
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    @vsz I would say it's pretty fair for the author to avoid comparisons with other well known center-right heads of state like, for example, Merkel. Orban has shown to be a clearly authoritarian figure to the point that the press is no longer fully free in Hungary. He also justified some very undemocratic behavior with the fuzzy concept of "illiberal democracy" (this includes breaking rule of law principles) and has been seen to support several far-right ideas (inc. anti-immigration, persecution of opposition, etc.). Calling him center-right is offensive to a great number of people. – armatita Aug 13 '18 at 8:41
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    @armatita - since when is anti-immigration and persecution of opposition a "far right" special? Last state I lived in that practiced both was USSR. Not exactly a bastion of the right. – user4012 Aug 13 '18 at 10:45
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    @user4012 You mean not a bastion of right-side economics. But Russia (USSR even worse) has, indeed, a far-right government. Authoritarian stance, nationalism, chauvinism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. By far-right I'm certainly not speaking about the economy axis (which puts Orban more or less at the center), but the authoritarian axis. So just to be clear it is perfectly possible for a "far-right" government to be practicing left or right wing economics. No argument there. – armatita Aug 13 '18 at 11:09
10

Netanyahu did so in February 2018:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud ministers on Sunday that Jewish billionaire George Soros is funding a campaign of protest against Israel's plan to deport thousands of African asylum seekers.

He has also previously - in July 2017 - defended attacks against Soros:

Last year, when the Jewish community in Hungary – where the Orban government has been waging its own campaign tinged with barely-concealed antisemitism against Mr Soros’ donations to progressive Hungarian groups – appealed to Israel to support its protests against the government, the Israeli ambassador in Budapest responded immediately with a statement supporting them.

However, when Mr Netanyahu, who is also Israel’s acting foreign minister, was informed of the ambassador’s actions, he overturned the statement and directed the Foreign Ministry to clarify that it had not “meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”

The Independent goes into the possible reasons for this:

But despite accusations Mr Orbán had stoked antisemitism in Europe, he has taken a firm stance in support of Israel at a time when Mr Netanyahu is increasingly looking to European allies as he faces mounting criticism from the EU.

Netanyahus opinion was not well received by domestic political opponents.

  • Well, the middle quote is interesting; defending Soros against anti-Semitism, but not otherwise. – Fizz Aug 13 '18 at 6:55
  • @user4012 The article specifically mentions criticism from "both sides of the political aisle". I think some short reference to reactions is helpful to contextualize the issue, but I can see that some more specification would be helpful. I didn't want to go into it too much though. Maybe that would make for a good separate question. – tim Aug 13 '18 at 6:55
  • @tim - Haaretz is widely acknowledged as being a left wing publication. Unless you have neutral examples of criticizm from the right, it seems to be mainly political opposition. – user4012 Aug 13 '18 at 6:57
  • @tim and DW article's "Cross-party criticism" section explicitly contradics this saying right wing figures criticize Soros – user4012 Aug 13 '18 at 6:59
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    I'll just add - from my limited experience and knowledge - that the attacks on Soros come right out of the blue for most Israelis, who have no idea who he is and likely not heard about him before the attacks by Netanyahu senior or junior. – einpoklum Aug 13 '18 at 8:43
7

Yes. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros is behind the public campaign against the government’s plan to deport Sudanese and Eritrean migrants to a third country in Africa, widely believed to be Rwanda, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Netanyahu made the comments at the weekly meeting of the Likud ministers. He also said that former US president Barack Obama “deported two million infiltrators, and no one said anything.”

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    The second paragraph would be worth a Skeptics' question for itself. – Evargalo Aug 13 '18 at 8:07
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    @Evargalo The first might be as well: Soros has denied the funding - though it's probably a question of definition. He is funding, via his foundation, left wing groups in Israel, who are protesting, but he has already done so before the protest. – janh Aug 13 '18 at 8:18
5

In addition to direct statemenst by Netanyahu, as mentioned in @janh's answer, there was biting criticism from his Foreign Ministry (starement by Israeli Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Emmanuel Nahshon on July 9, 2017).

While individual Israeli ministers are known to go off the box and express personal views differing from PM, but this was an official Minstry statement so it probably had Prime Minister's approval:

This was the sole purpose of the statement issued by Israel’s ambassador to Hungary. In no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.


In general, Soros is not popular among Israeli right. Netanyahu's son (not known for his polish) posted anti-Soros cartoons which caused controversy.

This article in Mosaic Magazine published an extended article explaining why many Israelis dislike Soros. It's not merely the currently-flared-up issue of Soros's support for illegal aliens that Netanyahu's government wants to remove from Israel and Soros actively works against removal of.

It's general extensive support for NGOs and other organizations seen as undermining Israel, including anti-semitic ones (see the article for details).

This Bloomberg article "A Soros Plan, a Marginalized Israel" details one such set of issues.

Here's another one laying out grievances that many Israelis have with Soros.

Similar, Observer's piece "Not Shocking: George Soros Funds Progressive War on Israel", while it does sound like a hit piece on Soros, lays out many facts like that.

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