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Man indicted for online threats against Netanyahu

78-year-old tweeted on a number of occasions; although posts received little or no engagement, prosecutors say they’re still a real threat of violence

Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to right-wing opposition party members a day after a new government was sworn in, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, June 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to right-wing opposition party members a day after a new government was sworn in, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, June 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

A 78-year-old man from the northern town of Kiryat Bialik was indicted last week for threats made toward then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it was announced Wednesday.

According to the indictment, Zvi Binstein tweeted or shared social media posts that threatened the now-opposition head and his family.

According to tweets cited by the Haaretz daily, Binstein tweeted last July: “Israel will not recover from the coronavirus plague until after the elimination of the tyrant’s dictatorship.”

Two days later he posted another tweet, in which he apparently alluded to setting fire to the Prime Minister’s Residence.

“Today, July 14, on this date in 1789, the citizens of France broke into the Bastille, the stronghold of the oppressive regime in Paris, and burned it. Today, July 14, 2020, Israeli citizens storm a cuckoo’s nest on Balfour Street and burn them,” he tweeted, referring to the address of the Prime Minister’s Residence.

A month later he posted a tweet that referenced the assassination of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, and the execution by firing squad of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

“Israeli citizens on their way to the cuckoo’s nest on Balfour Street will do to the defendant [a reference to Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption] and the Balfour gang located there, what the corrupt defendant [also a reference to Netanyahu] did to Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 [the year he was assassinated],” in a tweet that also referenced incitement claims against Netanyahu as well as the 1989 revolution in Romania and the execution of Ceausescu and his wife Elena.

The indictment said the majority of the tweets received no engagement in the form of likes, comments or retweets but there was “a real possibility they could bring about an act of violence.”

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

Meanwhile, a number of members of the cabinet, as well as officials involved in Netanyahu’s ongoing graft trial, have extra security due to threats against them and their relatives.

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