The police launched an investigation into the circulation of a photo on Facebook of Finance Minister Yair Lapid in Nazi uniform, police chief Yohanan Danino said Tuesday.
The photo, uploaded to Facebook earlier Tuesday, depicts Lapid in a Hitler-like mustache next to dollar signs, with a caption that reads “Enemy of the Israeli Economy.”
Education Minister Shai Piron, the number two on Lapid’s Yesh Atid party list, said he was appalled by the picture.
“Any comparison between an Israeli public figure and the enemy of the Jews is an affront to the mind. Such a comparison causes deep harm to millions of Jews around the world,” said Piron, adding that the police should bring those who created the inciting picture to justice.
The picture was reminiscent of a similar placard which depicted prime minister Yitzhak Rabin as a Nazi at a rally shortly before his assassination.
That poster was seen as part of a general anti-Rabin atmosphere at the time that some said led to his killing.
Rabin’s daughter Dalia told Army Radio that the picture of Lapid took her “back to the darkest days of incitement.”
Lapid has been the target of much public criticism over the past several months for proposing and pushing through an austerity budget that includes painful tax hikes and cuts in child allowances and government spending.
The Knesset voted the budget through on Monday night in the first reading with 58 votes for and 44 against.
Parrying heckles during his presentation of the bill before parliament, Lapid said Monday, “The budget’s objective is extricating the economy from deficit. We can’t allow the situation to continue as is. If it weren’t for us, the deficit would have grown. We chose to do the responsible thing.”
Last month, the Finance Ministry approved a series of measures aimed at cutting government spending by some NIS 6.5 billion (almost $2 billion) in 2013 and by NIS 18 billion (some $5 billion) in 2014, largely through cuts in defense, child benefits (NIS 2 billion, or $560 million) and transportation infrastructure projects (NIS 1.2 billion, or $336 million). Those measures are meant to slash a burgeoning national deficit that in 2012 reached NIS 39 billion ($11 billion) — 4.2 percent of the gross domestic product.