A man was arrested Tuesday night outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem after making threats against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, Israel Police said.
The suspect, 31, was found to have in his possession a plastic gun and two razor blades.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended his remand until Sunday, police said in the statement.
Hebrew-language media reported that the man is homeless.
Protesters demonstrating against Netanyahu in Jerusalem noticed the man and after hearing him make threats against the premier and his wife, doctors and Arabs, reported him to police, the Ynet news site reported.
Police reportedly believe the man is dealing with psychological issues.
At his remand hearing, the suspect told the judge: “You don’t judge a hungry man. My parents have nothing to eat at home.”
The man also told the court that he had drawn police attention to the razor blades in his possession which they would otherwise have missed, Ynet reported.
Earlier this month a Beersheba man was indicted for threatening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on social media. The man, 39, was arrested following an investigation by the Lahav 433 national crime unit’s cyber division. He was identified by Hebrew media as Asher Ben Dor.
The indictment came amid a recent crackdown on those making online threats against the prime minister.
Last month 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.
Also in June, a man was arrested for threatening Netanyahu in a social media post, police said, without providing further details on the threats. The suspect, a 21-year-old resident of the north of Israel, was arrested by the cyber unit of the police’s Lahav 433 national crime squad.
Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, a close ally of Netanyahu, said Sunday there was a “lack of response” from the attorney general in the face of alleged assassination threats against the premier, as well as the continued anti-corruption protests.
Public Security Minister Amir Ohana has also claimed several times that protests across the country against corruption and the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic are part of a trend of “incitement” against Netanyahu that he says is worse than the lead-up to the 1995 assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
But last week, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit dismissed claims by Ohana that he wasn’t treating recent threats against Netanyahu seriously. He added that credible threats had previously been probed and stressed he didn’t “make light of the severity of threats of incitement.”