Controversial attorney and self-described anti-corruption activist Barak Cohen was interrogated by police in Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening following a harassment complaint by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Avner.
Avner Netanyahu went to the police on Sunday after Cohen uploaded a social media video showing him approaching the 24-year-old Netanyahu as he ate at a restaurant in Tel Aviv, and swearing at him.
“We ran into Avner Netanyahu, the son of the weak, corrupt [man],” he shouts in the two-minute clip, before getting closer. “A family of thieves, your dad is a corrupt thief, you should go away. What about daddy’s thefts? How much did he steal in the end? How much was the bribery he received?”
He was referring to three corruption cases in which charges have been announced against the prime minister, pending a hearing. One of the cases involves bribery charges.
Cohen, a left-wing lawyer who was suspended by the Israeli Bar Association in 2017 for harassing banking executives, then spoke about the premier’s older son, Yair, who has been reported in the past to have visited strip clubs, and who last week celebrated his 28th birthday.
“Were you at the party for your brother, the client of prostitutes? You and he get a driver, a security guard, what else do you get from the state? How much do you get?”
On Sunday, Avner Netanyahu said on Facebook that he had filed a harassment complaint against Cohen over the incident.
“Time after time, he has followed me, come to where I was and started filming and cursing me,” he wrote. “There is a manner in which to conduct political debates — thuggery and harassment of uninvolved citizens is definitely not the way.”
הגשתי היום תלונה במשטרה על הטרדה נגד Barak Cohen. פעם אחר פעם שהוא עוקב אחרי, מגיע למקומות בהם אני נמצא ומתחיל לצלם…
In May, Cohen filmed himself shouting at US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson in Tel Aviv, telling him “Asshole, you live too long.” He subsequently posted the encounter on Twitter.
you live too long, ya maniak pic.twitter.com/EhsZkiXqAy
— ברק כהן (@barak1cohen) May 30, 2019
Last August, Cohen posted the private phone numbers of numerous politicians, including President Reuven Rivlin, on the internet, explaining in a Facebook post that he believed that his actions were a “public service.”
In April 2017, he was questioned by police after he hurled a barrage of insults at Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev when he saw her walking with her family on a Tel Aviv street.