An 82-year-old protester who was fatally struck by a car during a rally against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was identified late Saturday as the father of Facebook Israel’s CEO.
Dror Soffer was seriously injured after being hit by a car in the Tel Aviv suburb of Kiryat Ono, and was rushed to Sheba Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. He was the father of Facebook Israel CEO Adi Soffer-Teeni, according to Hebrew media reports.
Police stressed that the incident was an accident, and there was no suspicion that Soffer had been intentionally run over.
The driver, a 20-year-old female Israel Defense Forces soldier, was cooperating with authorities, according to the Kan public broadcaster. A source involved in the investigation told the broadcaster the driver had been legally crossing the intersection when Soffer burst onto the road.
Soffer, an architect, was a resident of nearby Savion. He is survived by his three daughters and seven grandchildren, according to the Ynet news site.
“Every week he would demonstrate for democracy and for the state that he so loved,” a relative, who was not named, told the outlet.
Weekly protests against Netanyahu and his government have been held at intersections around the country for months, with the largest gathering in Jerusalem, outside his residence. Demonstrators have been demanding Netanyahu resign over his trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. They have also criticized his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing and claims the indictments are part of an effort by political rivals, the media, police and prosecutors to remove him from office.
In addition to a central protest in Jerusalem and satellite demonstrations around the country, demonstrators regularly rally outside the Netanyahu family’s private residence in Caesarea.
The protests have gone on for months and kept a spotlight on Netanyahu at a time when the long-serving leader’s popularity has declined because of his handling of the virus outbreak.