JERUSALEM (VINnews) —Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Saturday night, prior to his departure from Paris to Israel, on the growing incitement against him, as well as the specific death threat made by former IAF pilot Ze’ev Raz.
“In recent weeks we have witnessed a growing wave of incitement, boundaries are crossed every day. It seemed that all boundaries were crossed after threats against elected officials and me, but it turns out they were not – because today we heard and saw a threat of murder. An explicit threat for the assassination of a prime minister in Israel,” Netanyahu said
“I know there is a debate about what endangers democracy, but it is not something that is subject to debate – it is a real threat to democracy,” Netanyahu added.
He stressed that “I expect the law enforcement agencies and the security agencies, who spoke clearly and sharply during the previous government about much less serious phenomena, to come out with at least the same severity and with the same clarity against this horrifying phenomenon. I expect the law enforcement agencies to act immediately against those who incite or threaten with murder, and I also expect the leaders of the opposition to speak with the same firmness and with the same intensity that I spoke.”
“We are in difficult times and we need intentions to do what is required of us as other public leaders. We must not be silent about this matter,” Netanyahu concluded.
Raz, one of the leaders of the anti-Netanyahu protest movement and a former fighter pilot, seemingly called to murder the Prime Minister on the charges of “rodef”, a traditional Jewish law that allows bystanders to preemptively kill a potential murderer.
“I am amazed by Hodek’s mildness. Only defense with a weapon? Passiveness? Cupping therapy for dead people,” he wrote on Facebook, referring to Attorney David Hodek, who said last week, “I won’t refrain from using live fire if they force me to live under a dictatorship.”
Raz wrote that, “If a Prime Minister gets up and takes the authority of a dictator, that Prime Minister is a man of death, it’s that simple, together with his ministers and those who work with him. We also have to have the law of ‘rodef.'”
“My rodef law states: If a man, Israeli or foreign, takes over my county and rules it undemocratically, there is an obligation to kill him. It’s not polite, and it makes me shudder, but the other option is many innocent deaths, and it is better to kill criminals. I am preparing a detailed declaration on the matter.”
Journalist Irit Linor said that this was not the first time Raz had used such invective. In 2019 he wrote to her that “Bibi deserves a bullet in the head, he is enemy number one of the state of Israel and the people of Israel.” Raz used similar threats against a right-wing journalist who published articles supporting Netanyahu.
After receiving the legal opinion of the attorney-general’s office, police opened a criminal investigation against Raz on suspicion of incitement and threats against the prime minister. The case will be investigated by the cyber section of Lahav 433, which investigates white collar crimes.
Shin Bet head Ronen Bar and Police Chief Yaakov Shabtai discussed the increase in shrill and violent rhetoric in public remarks, especially on social media, and concluded that a zero-tolerance policy would be taken by law enforcement against anyone who incites violence or calls to harm public figures or elected officials, as well as anyone who calls to harm protesters.