Amid growing mass protests against the government’s intention to remake the justice system, public posters of the plan’s two architects were defaced Monday with graffiti that likened them to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
The posters are part of a recent campaign supporting the government’s plan, spearheaded by Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman, chair of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.
Placed at intersections in major cities, the banners feature images of Levin and Rothman alongside a message that “The nation is with you!” and a claim that “2,304,964 citizens voted in favor of the reform to fix the judiciary” — the number of people who voted for the current coalition parties in the November election.
However, recent surveys have consistently shown that the judicial overhaul push is unpopular, with a large minority among those who voted for the current coalition parties opposing the plan currently being blitzed through.
In Bnei Brak, unknown vandals used black graffiti to draw a mustache and forelock on Levin’s and Rothman’s faces, making them resemble Hitler.
Posters elsewhere were also vandalized. Red graffiti was spray-painted on one in Kfar Saba, stickers and other flyers were placed on one in Givatayim, and reports said others were removed or vandalized as well.
ביום כואב שכזה, אני רואה את ההסתה של גורמים בשמאל הקיצוני שפשוט מאבדים את זה ומציירים על שלטים שהצבנו את רוטמן ואת לוין עם ציור של היטלר. פשוט מפחיד. די להסתה! pic.twitter.com/Y5jFVpyqsH
— ברל'ה קרומבי???????? (@berale_crombie) February 27, 2023
Berale Crombie, a right-wing strategic and media consultant who initiated the campaign, lambasted the “incitement by extreme left elements who are simply losing it and drawing an image of Hitler on posters we put up of Rothman and Levin.”
“What we are witnessing in the last few days is an escalation of violence” by opponents of the government’s plan, he argued, presumably recalling roads that were blocked during Saturday’s anti-government protest in Tel Aviv, violence toward several cops, and a message calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “traitor” with white paint on the Ayalon Highway.
“Lines have been crossed by a camp that has chosen violence,” he charged.
The sweeping reforms, which are being pushed through the Knesset in recent weeks, include the government granting itself total control over the appointment of judges, including High Court justices; all but eliminating the High Court’s ability to review and strike down legislation; and allowing politicians to appoint — and fire — their own legal advisers.
Critics say the plan will deeply undermine Israel’s democratic character by upsetting its system of checks and balances, granting almost all power to the executive branch and leaving individual rights unprotected and minorities undefended.
The plan has drawn intense criticism and warnings from leading financial and legal experts, as well as weekly protests and public petitions by various officials, professionals and private companies.
Netanyahu has pushed back against the criticism, saying that the proposals would strengthen rather than weaken democracy, and that his government is carrying out the will of the people.