An Israeli translator says she has turned down a request to translate for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Italy this weekend.
“It’s not only that I don’t share Netanyahu’s political view, but because his leadership is extremely dangerous to democracy in the State of Israel,” Olga Dalia Padoa wrote on Facebook. “Moreover, if I agree to cooperate in translating his remarks, my children won’t forgive me.”
“They were determined: We don’t cooperate with someone who is promoting fascist principles and suppressing freedom. We just don’t do that. I decided to listen to them,” she wrote.
Netanyahu’s visit to Rome to meet with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and others was already beset by problems due to protests against his government’s efforts to restrict the judiciary.
Netanyahu was expected to travel by helicopter from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion airport on Thursday for his flight to Italy, due to protesters’ plans to block his route and ground flights.
Organizers of the protest movement against the government’s plans are holding a “national day of resistance to the dictatorship” on Thursday, including road blockages around the airport.
Israelis living in Italy are also planning to rally against Netanyahu during his stay in Rome, the report said.
Netanyahu has postponed meetings planned for Thursday to Friday, anticipating he may have trouble flying out of Israel, Channel 13 reported.
The trip also faced complications when national carrier El Al was unable to find pilots to fly the prime minister and his delegation to Italy. Some reports had indicated that the difficulty in finding a crew to staff the flight was tied to the widespread public protests. El Al denied that the issues were political, but rather a lack of pilots qualified to fly the model of plane requested by Netanyahu, a Boeing 777 wide-body airliner that is expensive to operate.
Netanyahu, his wife, and staff will now travel on a smaller Boeing 737 operated by El Al for the four-hour flight.
On Wednesday, dozens of people protested outside the homes of the pilots who finally agreed to fly Netanyahu to Rome, imploring them to follow the example of other El Al crews that reportedly shunned the job in protest.
Demonstrators showed up at the Tel Aviv home of the captain and the Ramat Hasharon residence of the pilot, whose addresses had been published earlier on social media. Police were eventually called to both locations.
In Ramat Hasharon, demonstrators used loudspeakers to address the pilot, calling Netanyahu “corrupt” and asserting that he intends to turn Israel into a dictatorship, according to Channel 12.
The trip to Italy is one of Netanyahu’s first international visits since retaking office as prime minister in December.
Mass protests have rocked Israel for over two months since Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced the government’s plans to drastically restructure the judiciary, charging it needs to be reined in as it is overly activist.