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Man arrested over social media threats to Netanyahu, Rivlin, ministers

Police seek to hold 22-year-old suspect from Omer, amid crackdown on incitement against premier

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Reuven Rivlin attend a ceremony in memory of deceased Israeli presidents and prime ministers held at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on June 17, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Reuven Rivlin attend a ceremony in memory of deceased Israeli presidents and prime ministers held at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on June 17, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

A southern man has been arrested on suspicion of threatening a series of right-wing political and public figures, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, the Israel Police said Thursday morning.

Police said in a statement that a complaint was filed Wednesday night against the man, 22, from the upscale town of Omer, near Beersheba, over social media threats against Rivlin.

An investigation revealed that he has also sent similar threats to Netanyahu, as well as to Public Security Minister Amir Ohana and Transportation Minister Miri Regev, both from the premier’s Likud party.

No more details were immediately published about the nature or the content of the threats.

The suspect was to be brought Thursday for a remand hearing at the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court.

Police said in the statement that they “view with severity any suspected criminal offense against public figures.”

Police added that they were “working to distance the suspects involved in such crimes from the public.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surrounded by security as he enters his car, after an unofficial surprise visit in Givatayim, near Tel Aviv on November 9, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The development comes amid a recent crackdown on online threats against the prime minister.

Last month, the Ashdod Magistrate’s Court convicted a Beersheba man who threatened Netanyahu on social media. In June, Asher Ben Dor wrote on Twitter, “Anyone know about preparations to assassinate the prime minister? It seems the time has come, it seems to be that it has become unbearable.”

The 39-year-old reached a plea bargain with state prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty in exchange for an amended indictment that dropped one of the two charges against him for issuing a threat.

In June, 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 his son, Yair Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has recently made several complaints to police over threats to harm him and his family.

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