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Beersheba man convicted for social media post threatening Netanyahu

Asher Ben Dor pleads guilty in exchange for amended indictment dropping one of two charges against him; state asks for prison time

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen surrounded by security as he enters his car, after an unofficial, surprise visit in Givatayim, near Tel Aviv on November 9, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen surrounded by security as he enters his car, after an unofficial, surprise visit in Givatayim, near Tel Aviv on November 9, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Ashdod Magistrate’s Court on Monday convicted a Beersheba man who threatened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on social media.

In June, Asher Ben Dor wrote on Twitter, “Anyone know about preparations to assassinate the prime minister? Anyone know…it seems the time has come, it seems to be that it has become unbearable.”

The 39-year-old reached a plea bargain with state prosecutors through which he pleaded guilty in exchange for an amended indictment that dropped one of the two charges against him for issuing a threat.

Still, the prosecution asked the court for Ben Dor to be sentenced to time in prison due to an outstanding suspended sentence on his record from last year, when he was convicted of assaulting his partner.

Judge Shamir Hirsch ordered probation services to formulate a recommendation for Ben Dor’s punishment.

In a statement following the conviction, Ben Dor’s attorney Daniel Haklai said his client “understands the severity of his mistake and apologizes for the words written on his Twitter account.”

Israelis protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, June 27, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

“Mr. Ben-Dor is actually right-wing in his political views, but due to his economic hardship and the belief that the prime minister is administering cruel economic policies, he felt immense anger. Nonetheless, one should never express their anger in a threatening way,” the attorney added.

The July indictment against Ben Dor came amidst a recent crackdown on online threats against the prime minister.

In court then, Ben Dor said he wrote the tweets “in the heat of the moment.”

“The prime minister himself says things and afterwards ‘expresses regret’ and that is okay? I am not a violent man,” he said.

After his arrest, Ben Dor reportedly told a police officer, “I am under arrest only because it was the prime minister who complained. Now that I am under arrest he should die now, the bastard, he should die now, this a political arrest.”

In June, an Ashkelon man was indicted for posting threats to Netanyahu on social media. Tzvi Sabag, 57, was accused of penning Facebook posts with direct threats against the premier in November of last year and also threatening Yair Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has recently made several complaints to police over threats to harm him and his family.

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