Mark Regev criticises Israeli government’s attitude to anti-reform protesters

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Mark Regev criticises Israeli government’s attitude to anti-reform protesters

Speaking at Anglo Israel Association, Israel's former UK ambassador called the prime minister's approach to anti-reform protests "polarising"

Former ambassador Mark Regev has described the government’s approach to anti-reform protesters as “polarising” and “counter-productive”. 

Mr Regev, a former advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the premier’s comparison between protestors and the PLO and Iran had “played into the hands of his political opponents”.

Speaking at an online event organised by the Anglo-Israel Association (AIA), Mr Regev, the former Israeli Ambassador to the UK, acknowledged that some of Netanyahu’s coalition allies – which include far-right group Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) – made the Prime Minister look “like the left”.

He said: “A lot of people would agree [that] these are not Netanyahu’s favourite political partners. He has problems with some of these people, they are too extreme for him.

Mark Regev at roundtable discussion with Anglo Israel Association, September 2023.

“I always thought that he felt the most comfortable when he was the Prime Minister in a coalition when he had some people to the right of him and some people to the left of him, and he could play them off against each other; he was the conductor of the orchestra so to speak.

“In this current coalition government, he’s like the left. It’s probably a difficult place for him to be.”

Mr Regev, a former senior advisor to Netanyahu, also spoke about the protests across Israel in response to judicial reform policies.

“It is clear that Israeli society is very polarised,” he said, adding: “we do need reform – but with consensus.

“The way that it’s being done in this very polarising way has been totally counter-productive. I would say to people in the Likud: even if you are right, you have to choose your battles.”

He also appeared to criticise Netanyahu’s comparison of anti-reform protestors with the PLO and Iran, noting: “[Netanyahu] had to clarify that afterwards because he played into the hands of his political opponents.”

Mr Regev, a former senior advisor to Netanyahu, also responded to criticism of the premier. He said: “You can’t be in public life, not in Britain and not in Israel, without being criticised. And when you have been at the top for so many years as Netanyahu has been, of course you are going to be at the brunt of criticism. It comes with the job.”

He made the comments at an online event last Thursday, watched virtually by more than 180 people. The event, moderated by journalist Sandy Rashty, saw Mr Regev in discussion with correspondent and author Anshel Pfeffer.

Mr Regev, who now sits as chair of Reichman University’s Abba Eban Institute for Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, went onto welcome the prospect of an alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel, saying it would give a “kosher stamp” to other Muslim-majority countries looking to normalise open relations with the Jewish State.

He said: “If Saudi Arabia makes peace with Israel, it’s a kosher stamp for many people in the Arab world and in the Islamic world, that Israel is kosher. That’s a major change.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: