A mob of protesters at a right-wing rally on Tuesday night surrounded veteran Channel 12 political commentator Amnon Abramovich, hurling insults at him as he tried to cover the event outside the Tel Aviv Museum.
Several Israel Police officers were needed to extract Abramovich from the crowd, members of which shouted such slurs as “fifth columnist,” “traitor,” “dishrag,” “wretch,” and “stinking cinder.”
Abramovich was disfigured from burns he suffered when he was seriously injured while serving as a tank driver in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Videos of the incident were shared on social media by, among others, fellow journalists.
In the footage, Abramovich, wearing a white shirt and with a face mask down below his chin, is seen being escorted by a phalanx of police officers who hold back protesters as they continue to shout at him.
בושה וחרפה: המשטרה נאלצה לחלץ בכוח את פרשן חדשות קשת אמנון אברמוביץ' בהפגנת הימין נגד בג"ץ. הוא הגיע לצלם כתבה והותקף על ידי מפגינים שקראו לעברו בין היתר: "כלב", "גייס חמישי"ו- "י'שרוף מסריח". @ynetalerts pic.twitter.com/mhaz2YPoEJ
— איתי בלומנטל Itay Blumental (@ItayBlumental) June 23, 2020
President Reuven Rivlin condemned the incident, tweeting, “We must not accept such sights. No journalist should need security while he is carrying out his job, whatever his views.”
“Don’t just close your eyes, this isn’t our way,” Rivlin urged. “This is not the way of the Israeli people.”
— נדב איל Nadav Eyal (@NadavEyalDesk) June 23, 2020
Defense Minister Benny Gantz also denounced the incident.
“You can disagree, you can have differences, but it is strictly forbidden to threaten journalists,” Gantz tweeted. “A free press is a cornerstone of a democratic and pluralistic country.”
Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid-Telem party tweeted, “Is Bibi also not connected to this?” He was apparently referring to Netanyahu’s attacks on the media, which he accuses of teaming up with police and prosecutors to oust him from office with a trio of corruption cases.
The demonstration, titled “Only the people will decide,” was to protest against what is seen as excessive and biased Supreme Court interference in the running of the country by striking down Knesset bills backed by the right.
Abramovich, a reporter and prominent commentator, has covered the criminal investigations into Netanyahu.
Netanyahu is on trial for three cases of fraud and breach of trust, as well as bribery in one of the cases.
Another rally, by left-wing activists, was held the same evening in the city’s Rabin Square to protest Netanyahu’s planned annexation of areas of the West Bank.