Second Supreme Court judge gets threats, apparently from right-wing activists

Second Supreme Court judge gets threats, apparently from right-wing activists

A day after Anat Baron received 2 letters, Uzi Vogelman files police complaint about messages on his mailbox; both judges recently ruled against demolition of terrorist’s home

Justice Uzi Vogelman at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on June 4, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Justice Uzi Vogelman at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on June 4, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A second Supreme Court judge has received threatening messages and taken the matter to the police.

A day after the judiciary said Justice Anat Baron had received two threatening messages, Justice Uzi Vogelman reportedly filed a police complaint after stickers saying “Jewish blood isn’t cheap” were plastered on his mailbox.

The slogan, commonly used by right-wing activists, was an apparent reference to a recent case in which both Vogelman and Baron were part of a court panel that rejected the demolition of the home of a Palestinian suspect in the killing of yeshiva student Dvir Sorek last year in the West Bank.

Channel 13 said the Lahav 433 special police unit was investigating the case, adding that officers believe the threats against both judges are connected.

The same network reported Sunday evening that one of the two letters sent to Baron contained “clear threats on her life.”

On Sunday morning, a spokesperson for the judiciary said Baron had received a threatening letter on Friday, and linked the previous letter to “continuous unbridled incitement” against the courts.

The earlier letter appeared to threaten harm to Baron’s son Ido. The content of the second letter wasn’t published.

Supreme Court Justice Anat Baron in Jerusalem, before to the start of a court hearing on December 7, 2016. Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Baron lost her older son Ran in the 2003 Mike’s Place suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The letter warned that “another punishment awaits her.”

In a statement, the judiciary spokesperson said the body in charge of securing the courts had filed a police complaint after the threat was made to Baron, a liberal-leaning judge who supported many rulings that have angered the right.

The judiciary later issued a second, strongly worded statement.

“The threatening letter sent to Supreme Court Justice Anat Baron, including its despicable content, is the direct result of continuous unbridled incitement against the justice system and its judges,” the statement said.

“Attempts to terrorize Israel’s judges will not deter them, and they will continue to do their job without fear,” it added.

MK Yair Lapid speaks during a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on him to quit, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on April 19, 2020. (Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn said Sunday: “The continued assault on the justice system is dangerous… There are judges in Jerusalem and they will continue to do their job fearlessly.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid on Sunday blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for inciting anger at the judiciary. Netanyahu, who is charged with corruption in three cases, has repeatedly alleged that the courts, police, his political rivals, the media and state prosecutors had all conspired to frame him for crimes he didn’t commit.

“The threat to the Supreme Court justice is a direct result of the incitement coming from Netanyahu. This is on him,” said Lapid.

Netanyahu also condemned the threats against the judge, linking them to threats against him and his family on social media. “There should be zero tolerance toward anyone who threatens to murder judges and elected officials alike,” he said at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement before entering a courtroom at the Jerusalem District Court on May 24, 2020, for the start of his corruption trial. Among those alongside him from left are Likud MKs and ministers Gadi Yevarkan, Amir Ohana, Miri Regev, Nir Barkat, Israel Katz, Tzachi Hanegbi, Yoav Gallant and David Amsalem (Yonathan SINDEL / POOL / AFP)

“This month alone I have filed three police complaints over murder threats against me and my family,” he said. “I call on police to act quickly and forcefully to eradicate the phenomenon of incitement — it has no place among us.”

Last month, Channel 13 reported that court officials and police had decided to beef up security for the judges presiding over Netanyahu’s criminal trial, which began May 24.

Nissenkorn, of the centrist Blue and White party, on Saturday vowed to protect the judiciary, issuing veiled criticism of Netanyahu and his allies, who have assailed the justice system over his trial and vowed to enact far-reaching reforms.

In an interview with Channel 12, Nissenkorn said: “Our job as public servants is also to fix [the system], of course, but also to ensure that government institutions are defended and respected.”

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