Israeli police were set to open an investigation on Monday after videos casting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin as Nazis were uploaded to YouTube.
The clips, uploaded by a user named “Asher,” feature Rivlin and Netanyahu in SS uniforms, speaking what sounds like German. “I am a self-hating, hypocritical president,” the Hebrew subtitles on the video of Rivlin read. “When Jews are murdered, it doesn’t really interest me… I am a Nazi Jew-hater.”
The videos were the latest in a string of internet memes attacking the president over his condemnation of a firebombing attack, allegedly carried out by Jewish extremists, that left an 18-month-old Palestinian baby dead on Friday.
In a separate video, with Netanyahu presented in Nazi uniform and with a Hitler mustache, the prime minister is dubbed saying, “Welcome to the concentration camp of Israel… We are deathly afraid of Muslims. Jewish blood is not worth much.”
Police were set to be investigating the case as a violation of an Israeli prohibition against “insulting a public servant,” according to the Ynet news website. The police cyber unit was tasked with probing the posts.
The man behind the videos, a New York resident, told Ynet no one had informed him that he was being investigated. He admitted to uploading the videos, as well as a photo of Rivlin in a keffiyeh. He also confessed to photoshopping photos last year of then-finance minister Yair Lapid, Rivlin, and then-justice minister Tzipi Livni as Nazis.
“No one told me they were going to investigate me. There is no crime here,” he said. “I made these videos and the picture of Rivlin in a kaffiyeh and the Hamas symbol — the police know this.”
The suspect said he was “just a secular guy who is sick of Jews being left to their fate. There wasn’t such a hubbub over the Fogel family that was slaughtered,” he said, referring to the brutal murder of five members of a single family in the West Bank in 2011 by Palestinian terrorists.
“Some Muslim was burned, probably a future terrorist, so there’s a lot of noise. And our president blames all the Jews for the crime. It’s illogical. Where was the president when Jews were being murdered every Monday and Thursday?” he said.
Security personnel at Rivlin’s official residence lodged a complaint with the Israel Police Sunday morning over threats made in response to his sharp condemnation of the firebombing attack.
Among the messages forwarded to the police were death threats made on social media and a photo manipulated to show Rivlin wearing a kaffiyah, a traditional Arab head covering.
In a Facebook post Friday, Rivlin said he felt “shame” that the killers came from “my own people.”
In response, some posters said he would “come to an end worse than Ariel Sharon,” who became comatose in 2006 after suffering a stroke while serving as prime minister and died in 2014.
“You bloody loser, your end will be worse than Ariel Sharon’s, you will see. I pray that another ‘Yigal Amir’ will rise to cleanse you and the Arabs from our Jewish country, and so I wish you ill health and any other suffering,” one poster wrote.
Yigal Amir assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
“You sold your soul to the devil,” another message read, adding, “My children saw me taking your picture off the wall [of my house] and asked why. I politely explained that you resigned and are no longer part of the Jewish people. You give a green light to hurting the Jewish people. You have been disqualified!”
Rivlin called for tolerance Saturday night at Jerusalem’s Zion Square at a demonstration staged in response to a stabbing at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade in Thursday, by an ultra-Orthodox Jew.
“Every society has extremist fringes, but today we have to ask: What is it about the public atmosphere that allows extremism and extremists to walk in confidence, in broad daylight? What is it that has enabled these weeds to threaten the safety of the entire garden of flowers?” said Rivlin.
“Citizens of Israel, a Jewish and democratic Israel, democratic and Jewish Israel, needs a wake-up call today,” he urged.
On Friday, he had also said the Israeli authorities had been “lax” in confronting Jewish terrorism.