After protesters block roads, Yair Netanyahu accuses police brass of ‘rebellion’

PM’s son claims, without evidence, that police and prosecutors are ‘fully cooperating with the anarchists’ to shut down highways as part of demonstrations against judicial overhaul

File: Yair Netanyahu, son of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives for a court hearing in a defamation lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shaffir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
File: Yair Netanyahu, son of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives for a court hearing in a defamation lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shaffir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

After protesters blocked major highways in central Israel Thursday as part of demonstrations against the proposed overhaul of the judicial system, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eldest son accused police brass of engaging in a “rebellion,” in his latest belligerent social media outburst.

As part of the day’s protests and planned disruptions, demonstrators blocked the central Ayalon Highway and, earlier, clogged up roads around Ben Gurion Airport ahead of the prime minister’s trip to Rome. Due to the traffic and protests, Netanyahu was forced to take a helicopter to the airport.

“A few thousand anarchists don’t have the strength to block a single central road,” Yair Netanyahu wrote on Twitter, echoing language the premier and government supporters have used to describe the protesters. “The police and prosecutorial brass are the ones actually carrying out the road closures every few days.”

“They are truly responsible for the chaos here,” he added, accusing them of acting “out of malice.”

“What has been happening here in recent weeks is nothing less than a rebellion by the senior police command,” the younger Netanyahu charged.

He claimed without proof that the Israel Police and state prosecution were “fully cooperating with the anarchists, at the expense of the Israeli nation.”

It was not clear why Yair Netanyahu was linking the road closures and prosecutors. The prime minister and his backers have railed at the state prosecution for indicting him in a trio of graft cases, claiming, without evidence, that the indictments are part of a political coup against him.

Some hours after the comments were made, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir announced he was removing Tel Aviv District Commander Ami Eshed from his post. Hebrew media characterized the move as a dismissal, carried out in response to Eshed’s reluctance to take tougher actions against demonstrators.

Police scuffle with anti-government protesters blocking the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on March 9, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Yair Netanyahu has a long history of incendiary comments on social media and frequently rails at those he says have wronged him or his family, leading to numerous libel lawsuits against him.

Thursday’s Twitter posts came weeks after he claimed the Shin Bet security agency was involved in a “coup” against the premier, before later deleting the tweet. In a more recent tweet that he has also since deleted, he called protesters who surrounded a Tel Aviv salon where his mother was getting her hair done “terrorists.”

He also seemed to indicate in December that “treasonous” prosecutors should face the death penalty for pressing charges against his father.

The prime minister has rarely criticized his son publicly. In the last instance, he said only that he “did not agree” with his comments.

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