A prominent Israeli activist in the anti-Netanyahu protest movement was condemned by lawmakers on Thursday after comparing the Israeli Prime Minister to Adolf Hitler.
“In the 1930's there was a dictator in Germany who oppressed the Jews. He behaved just like you. He divided, incited and destroyed,” Sadi Ben Shitrit from the Crime Minister protest movement said on Wednesday at a demonstration outside Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s home in Rosh Ha'ayin.
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Ben Shitrit said Hitler “Erased the parliament, destroyed the courts and terrorized the judges” and that Netanyahu was acting similarly.
"There are no words to describe you, the revulsion, the disgust and the recoiling we feel towards you. You are the most hatred prime minister here ever. There is no forgiveness for what you have done,” he added.
The Crime Minister group, which demands that the prime minister step down in light of his criminal indictments, said in response that “the Israeli police are not the Gestapo and Netanyahu isn’t Hitler.”
The group called on Israelis "not to fall into the inciting and divisive discourse" of Netanyahu and his footsoldiers, "which leads to violence against protesters, persecution of gatekeepers and members of the media and the debasement of fallen IDF soldiers."
The Black Flag movement, another anti-Netanyahu movement, said Ben Shitrit’s remarks “are worthy of strong condemnation.”
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President Reuven Rivlin also condemned the remarks, tweeting that comparing Netanyahu to Hitler “is not legitimate protesting. Such a dialogue shakes the foundations of the structure we have built together, and we all must decry it.”
Avner Shalev, the chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center, called the remarks "illegitimate" and "offensive."
Gantz also condemned the remarks, saying “there’s no room in Israeli society for comparisons of this sort, which harm the memory of the Holocaust. Even if we have difficult differences and disagreements with Netanyahu’s policies, this is not the way to express it.”
Knesset opposition leader Yair Lapid called the comparison to Hitler “nothing short of madness.” He added that “the radical left calls Netanyahu Hitler while the radical right attacks bereaved families, and in the middle there’s the rational center that asks itself, have we gone insane?
On Tuesday night, about a dozen Netanyahu supporters protested outside the home of the Farkash family, who are neighbors of the prime minister in Caesarea, for hosting anti-Netanyahu activists on their roof. The Farkash's son, Capt. Tom Farkash, was killed in a helicopter crash during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. “The fact that you lost a son doesn’t give you the right,” they yelled. The statement was roundly condemned by most political figures in Israel, including Netanyahu's own Likud party.
Ofer Aderet contributed to this report.