A Likud activist has caused an uproar after saying officials in the state prosecution should be “executed” for “betraying” state institutions, in comments that drew public outrage and led to condemnation from Likud.
The comments by Michael Ben Shushan were made during an online event on Twitter’s “Spaces” platform and hosted by Likud activist Rami Ben-Yehuda, who is notorious for his harsh verbal attacks against political rivals and opponents of the party and its leader, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, 72, is on trial in three separate graft cases: for fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000 and in Case 2000, and for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in Case 4000. He denies all the allegations against him, and claims the charges were fabricated.
During a discussion surrounding the prosecution attended by many other Likud activists, Ben Shushan was asked what he considered to be the most effective way to change attitudes at the prosecution.
Laying out his solution, Ben Shushan said his position was “a bit extreme, but swift, and completely solves the problem.”
He continued: “We hold a show trial and take those with a lot of power, those who have used their power to corrupt. [We] paint a wall in white… line them up and execute them… for betraying the state and its institutions. Then everyone will come and spill the details on what they did.”
He added that “we need to build three new prisons and our nation will look much better,” apparently alluding to his desire to incarcerate other justice officials.
The shocking remarks were shared by journalist Ben Caspit on Twitter on Monday and have since managed to stir public outrage.
Labor MK Naama Lazimi tweeted Monday morning that she had submitted a police complaint against Ben Shushan for incitement to murder.
“When you threaten [senior members of the prosecution], you threaten democracy. I urge police chief [Kobi Shabtai] to make sure this dangerous person is questioned immediately. We must not remain silent in face of these dangerous comments. There are limits,” Lazimi wrote.
Caspit tweeted that a police source had told him the recording was being reviewed by authorities.
The Likud party issued a statement condemning Ben Shushan’s comments.
“Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu completely condemns these inciting remarks against the members of the state prosecutor’s office,” the Likud statement read, adding that Netanyahu had also urged police to open an investigation.
The party also disavowed the activist, asserting that he had not been a member of the party since 1998.
Meanwhile, former Likud minister Ayoub Kara, who has announced that he will be competing in the party’s primaries, refused to condemn Ben Shushan, saying that such comments “are the result of a crumbling state.”
“I don’t condemn anything,” he said, adding that, while he does not “like such speech… freedom of speech in Israel is so lax that people have even gone to visit terrorists.”
Kara, too, suggested justice officials should be prosecuted for their actions against Netanyahu, saying that “those who decided to indict [Netanyahu]… those who decided to banish Netanyahu in such a way, not through elections, but through the court, should be brought to justice.”
Addressing the ongoing corruption trial of Netanyahu, Kara argued that the trial “has given Netanyahu more power. Most of the public sees him as a victim — like Dreyfus.”
Netanyahu himself has frequently railed against prosecutors, alleging that they were trying to oust him from power as part of an ostensible conspiracy for which he has not provided evidence.
In an interview earlier this month, outgoing deputy attorney general Raz Nizri said that some of Netanyahu’s statements regarding Israel’s judicial system have been “false, dangerous, and inciting statements, because they undermined the basic foundations of the rule of law and democracy.”