Likud activist charged with threatening family of prosecutor in Netanyahu trial

Rami Ben-Yehuda, who has had several run-ins with the law, accused of making threats against Liat Ben-Ari and her son during Facebook live broadcast

Rami Ben-Yehuda arrives for a court hearing at the Magistrate's Court in Tel Aviv on December 18, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Rami Ben-Yehuda arrives for a court hearing at the Magistrate's Court in Tel Aviv on December 18, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed charges against Likud activist Rami Ben-Yehuda, accusing him of making threats against the lead prosecutor in Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal trial and her son.

The charges come after Liat Ben-Ari filed a complaint with the Lahav 433 investigative unit against Ben-Yehuda after he appeared to threaten her and her son in a Facebook live video. She also requested a restraining order against Ben-Yehuda.

According to the charges filed Wednesday, he was seen saying in the video that he was looking for her son and asking where he was.

“Where is your son? Tell us where your son disappeared. Shwekey, where have you gone?” Ben-Yehuda said in the online video, referring to Ben-Ari’s son, Tomer Shwekey.

In the video, Ben-Yehuda also accused Ben-Ari of covering up her son’s alleged involvement in attacking a police officer during a protest, a false claim he has previously made.

Ben-Ari reportedly considered quitting the position due to the wave of threats and vitriol directed at her by Netanyahu supporters since the trial began in 2020. Security around her was increased that summer after police reportedly received intelligence that the threats had become more serious.

Liat Ben-Ari arrives for a court hearing at the Magistrate’s Court in Tel Aviv on December 18, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The prime minister’s defenders have harshly criticized Ben-Ari and other members of the justice system and law enforcement community whom they accuse, without evidence, of attempting to unseat Netanyahu for political motives.

Ben-Yehuda is known for his attack dog tactics against political rivals and opponents of the party. He was suspended from the Likud in September after physically assaulting anti-Netanyahu protesters, and placed under a restraining order in 2021 for verbally abusing the wife of Likud defector MK Ze’ev Elkin.

Netanyahu is on trial in three corruption cases. He faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000 and in Case 2000, and charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in Case 4000. He denies wrongdoing and says the charges were fabricated in a political coup led by the police and state prosecution.

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