Court Imposes Social Media Ban on Israeli Who Threatened Netanyahu Online

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Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting, Jerusalem, May 31, 2020.
Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting, Jerusalem, May 31, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman

An Israeli court ruled Wednesday that a man who had published threats against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his son, Yair Netanyahu, would be banned from posting on social media for 30 days, and ordered that any social media post he published must first be approved by his partner.

Asher Ben Dor, 39, was arrested on Monday for allegedly threatening online posts regarding the prime minister and his son. “Does anyone know of plans to assassinate the prime minister?” Ben Dor, who lives in Be’er Sheva, wrote on Twitter about two weeks ago. “I think the time has come, I think enough is enough.” He told the court during his indictment on Tuesday that he had “said something stupid” out of anger.

The judge at the district court in Ashkelon, which released Ben Dor under the above conditions on Wednesday, said that he had taken Ben Dor’s apology into account, as well as his apparent understanding of the seriousness of the charge, his commitment not to repeat the behavior and his partner’s ability to monitor his social media use.

According to the indictment, Ben Dor also wrote a threatening Twitter post addressing Yair Netanyahu. “Yair, sweetheart, every dog gets his day… What’s wrong, the house is shaking?” Ben Dor wrote, “the walls are thin, and we can hear your heart pounding.” Police claimed that this post was meant to “frighten or mock” the younger Netanyahu.

The police said that when he was arrested on Monday Ben Dor told an officer, “I’m only being arrested because it’s the prime minister who complained… He should drop dead, the bastard... this is a political arrest.”

On Tuesday, police sought to extend Ben Dor’s remand until the end of proceedings against him, saying that he had a history of violence and had previously attacked his partner. Police argued that he posed a security threat to the prime minister and his family.

In court, Ben Dor said he had made a mistake out of anger. “The prime minister himself says things and then ‘regrets them’ and that’s alright?” he said, adding that he was not a violent person.

Over the past two months, Netanyahu has complained to police a number of times over alleged threats and incitement to violence against him and his family. About a month ago, the prime minister complained about someone who wrote on Facebook suggesting that Yair Netanyahu "be orphaned from his parents as soon as possible.” Netanyahu said in a media statement that some threats to kill him and his family “are clearly affiliated with the radical left.”

A week before that, Netanyahu issued a complaint about an online comment from November of 2019. A few days earlier, Netanyahu tweeted that he filed one complaint about “a series of threats to murder me and members of my family” a few days ago. “Today, I regretfully was forced to file another complaint against a lowlife who described how he plans to murder me and my family.”

A month before that, both Netanyahu and his son submitted separate complaints about a protester who was documented in front of the prime minister’s home and calling for a firebomb to be thrown at it.

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