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Israel: Netanyahu accuses opposition of incitement against him

February 6, 2023 at 9:10 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem [MENAHEM KAHANA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused opposition leaders of supporting “irresponsible incitement” including death threats against him as well as elected officials in his cabinet.

Speaking at the opening of his cabinet meeting  yesterday, Netanyahu said he expects the opposition leaders to calm the people and stop the rampant incitement against him, his ministers as well as members of the Knesset.

“We saw a clear threat to kill a prime minister in Israel from a leading person in the demonstrations against the government, and this is a result of irresponsible incitement supported by opposition leaders,” Netanyahu said, calling on the opposition leaders to denounce incitement and instigators.

“This is a real danger to democracy and everyone should stand against it,” he added.

Netanyahu was referring to a Facebook post by former combat pilot, Zeev Raz, who said on Saturday that “if a prime minister comes along and assumes dictatorial powers, that prime minister is marked by death … along with his ministers and the people doing his bidding.”

Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli Public Prosecution announced that she would not hesitate to endorse investigations and file indictments against those who express themselves beyond the “levels of freedom of expression”.

The police summoned Raz for investigation, and announced that anyone suspected of spreading incitement against a public figure will be investigated.

The head of the National Unity Party, Benny Gantz, told the Ynet news website yesterday that the plan to weaken the judiciary, led by Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yariv Levin, is “the beginning of an authoritarian rule, and the beginning of the end of Israeli democracy as we know it.”

“If they control the judiciary, then if this is not the beginning of tyranny, then what is it? This is not democracy. The battle is decided by elections, but this is the beginning of evil. We must maintain balances, and Netanyahu as head of government should be responsible for the balances,” Gantz added.

“I am terrified of a constitutional crisis if the judiciary and the Supreme Court say the government issued illegal orders. Then the army chief of staff will face a very big dilemma,” he said.

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