Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Questioned Over Suspected Threats to Premier's Son

Attorney says it's unusual for the head of police investigations to show up at the Prime Minister's Residence to collect testimony: 'The public might understand this to mean the police work for him'

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חיים שדמי (במרכז) בהפגנה נגד נתניהו בתל אביב, ב-2018
Haim Shadmni (center) in a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 2018.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Three activists involved in protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu were questioned by the police Friday on suspicion that they threatened to harm his son, Yair. Netanyahu and his son filed the complaint, accusing protesters of inciting to violence.

The three protesters reported to the cyber department at Israel Police's Lahav 433 serious crimes unit for questioning, accompanied by members of the “Crime Minister” protest group.

One of the protesters, Haim Shadmi, was filmed this week outside the Prime Minister’s Residence calling for a Molotov cocktail to be thrown at it. Likewise, he was filmed saying on a megaphone: “Yair, remember our promise. We know why you need bodyguards. One day you will be without bodyguards. There’s no telling.”

Shadmi commented after his questioning that he cannot speak on the matter because he is under investigation. "I will only say that I was treated very politely, and if justice, truth, understanding and common sense prevail, this case will be closed."

Shadmi wrote on Facebook stating that he said some things “in the heat of the demonstration” and stressed that he had no intention of hurting anyone. “I have never had and never will have any intention of using violence or threatening a person’s life, even if that person is someone I consider despicable and is destroying Israeli democracy,” he wrote.

Shadmi's attorney commented that it is unusual that the police's head of investigations showed up at Netanyahu's residence to collect a testimony. "The public might understand this to mean that the police work for the prime minister," he said. 

After filing the complaint, Netanyahu said “The incitement on the extreme left has crossed red lines. These are real threats on my son’s life. We must not ignore such threats.”

Yair Netanyahu also filed a complaint with the police against Shadmi for incitement to violence. He posted on Twitter a clip showing Shadmi’s call against him, writing: “The psychopath Haim Shadmi is explicitly threatening my life in the demonstration at the Prime Minister’s Residence. I have filed a complaint against him before, but I didn’t get any response.”

A security official in the Prime Minister's Office sent a letter to the police, asserting that the threats are both on and off social media and demanding that the police address the issue. He claimed that previous complaints by the Netanyahu family had not been handled.

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