Man arrested over death threats to Netanyahu and his family
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Man arrested over death threats to Netanyahu and his family

Police question 55-year-old suspect a day after PM urged probe into Facebook user who called for the PM to be shot

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (not pictured) in Jerusalem October 28, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool/AFP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (not pictured) in Jerusalem October 28, 2019. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool/AFP)

Police on Tuesday arrested a man suspected of posting messages on Facebook threatening to kill Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife, Sara, and his son, Yair.

The investigation was opened on Monday, after Netanyahu issued a statement saying he had asked acting police chief Motti Cohen to probe the user, who made the threat under the name “Tzvika Sabag.”

The account earlier Monday posted: “Israel Police. Get ready to direct traffic to the funerals of Benjamin, Sara and Yair Netanyahu,” according to a screenshot released by Netanyahu’s office.

In another message, posted as Israel marks the 24th anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, the user recently wrote: “If there is one conclusion I reached on the eve of the anniversary, it is that Bibi should get a bullet in the head!”

The user’s profile picture features Netanyahu and a noose, and its bio says: “I hate to death Benjamin, Sara and Yair Netanyahu and anyone who cooperates with them.”

The 55-year-old resident of Ashkelon was arrested Tuesday morning and taken for questioning by the cyber crimes unit, police said in a statement.

The user’s profile picture is a poster made in 2016 by a student of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design featuring Netanyahu with a hangman’s noose. It sparked an uproar at the time, with police investigating accusations of incitement, but closing the probe two months later.

A poster hung in a stairwell at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem on December 12, 2016, depicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a noose hanging in front of him and the word ‘Rope’ in capital letters at the bottom.

At an anti-government rally in Tel Aviv in December 2017, a protester caused similar outrage by parading with a cardboard guillotine. That sign was condemned by lawmakers across the political spectrum and President Reuven Rivlin as “incitement” against Netanyahu.

Last year, lawmakers from the ruling Likud party voiced outrage after slogans slamming Netanyahu, one of which called for his death, were discovered on a sidewalk and on walls of a building in central Tel Aviv.

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