The ruling Likud party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu filed a police complaint on Tuesday against a prominent screenwriter and TV producer, citing alleged incitement to violence and murder of the prime minister.
Giora Chamizer, the creator of a number of Israeli TV shows popular with teenagers, gave an interview to Channel 12 during protests against the government’s proposed judicial overhaul on Sunday night in which he said that “the end [for Netanyahu] will be like that of every dictator in our history,” the news network reported on Tuesday.
Asked by the interviewer what he meant, Chamizer paused, before saying: “Look on Wikipedia, see where dictators end up. This is where Bibi will end up.”
The comments on Sunday night came amid the mass protests that erupted nationwide after Netanyahu announced that he was firing Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for publicly calling to freeze the contentious judicial overhaul push.
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, including military reservists, have taken to the streets since January to protest the coalition’s legislative package to overhaul the judiciary, a drastic systemic change that has drawn fierce opposition from leading legal scholars, economists, business and tech leaders, and many others.
“The prime minister wanted to divide the people and without intending it he united the people,” Chamizer said in his interview.
Chamizer is the creator of the hit tween show “The Greenhouse” (“HaHamama”), purchased by Netflix and recast for American audiences as “Greenhouse Academy,” with Chamizer as showrunner. He’s also behind a long list of successful Israeli shows, including “Shchuna,” “Ha-Shminiya” and “Ha-E.”
The award-winning screenwriter recently posted a number of videos to his Instagram profile addressed to his young followers in which he explains recent developments from his perspective, using concepts such as the “good guys versus the bad guys” that he says are prevalent in his shows.
“When you watch my series, you always know who’s good and who’s bad, right? The question is whether you know how to do it in real life as well, when you look at what’s happening in our beloved country. I’m sure you do. Let’s say that in my series there was a character of a leader who is on trial for serious crimes, and instead of fighting for his innocence, like any citizen, he tries to change the rules of the game in order to cancel his trial. Does he belong to the good guys or the bad guys?” Chamizer asked.
“And let’s say that this leader had a son, a parasite who never worked a day in his life, who — from the moment he wakes up — does not stop writing horrible and violent posts on the internet in which he vilifies prime ministers, presidents, chiefs of staff, judges, anyone who dares to criticize his father,” said Chamizer in reference to Yair Netanyahu, the premier’s eldest son with wife Sara.
Earlier this month, Yair Netanyahu compared the anti-government protesters to the Nazis’ Sturmabteilung paramilitary, or SA, attacked the police for not taking a harsher stance against protesters, and most recently, claimed in a tweet that the US has been funding the anti-overhaul protests.
Separately, Likud also filed complaints against protesters who allegedly burned photos of the premier in bonfires built on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv during Sunday night’s protests.
“We expect the police and prosecutors to act immediately and with all their might against the incitement and violence toward the prime minister and elected officials,” Likud said.
On Monday, Netanyahu pledged to delay his government’s persistent efforts — pushed at breakneck speed through the legislative process — to bring most judicial appointments under political control and neuter the powers of the High Court of Justice. The prime minister said he was doing this to engage in talks with the opposition, though he vowed to bring forward a reform even if agreements are not reached.
The legislation would politicize the Judicial Selection Committee and give the coalition almost complete control over the appointment of judges. The makeup of the committee — which currently divides power between politicians, justices and other public representatives regarding new judicial appointments — is arguably the most contentious part of the overhaul, and the issue in which a compromise is the most elusive.
The bill — which would give the government exclusive say in the first two Supreme Court picks during its term — was approved Monday by the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for its final readings in the Knesset plenum. The government also intended to change existing practice to allow it to elect the court’s president, which would end the seniority system in place today.