Homeless Man Who Threatened to Kill Netanyahu Referred to Psychiatric Evaluation

The Jerusalem man also reportedly threatened Arabs and anti-government protesters in the city, while attorney argues 'criminal process is not the answer to his issues. He needs help'

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One of a series of demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu near the Knesset, Jerusalem, July 2020
One of a series of demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu near the Knesset, Jerusalem, July 2020Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

The Jerusalem police submitted an indictment to the local magistrate’s court on Tuesday against a man experiencing homelessness who threatened to kill Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The man, who hasn’t been identified, was charged with issuing threats and illegal possession of a weapon in the form of a knife or brass knuckles. The court sent the suspect for psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is capable of standing trial.

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He is accused of making the threats to assasinatine the prime minister from a protest encampment near the Knesset.

“He approached those who were present and said he had come to the Knesset in order to kill Bibi and that he smacks around Arabs in Ramle and he would kill them all,” the charges say. He is also quoted to have said “I arrived here in order to kill Bibi and bring his head back to Ramle on a stick.”

The man also said he would return to the site with an axe “To slit the prime minister’s throat and bring his head to Ramle,” and “I will screw Sara [Netanyahu].”

He also threatened to kill Ramle Mayor Michael Vidal and that he would come back to collect the heads of Knesset members. Afterwards he threatened one of the protesters, telling him, “You need to watch the girls and if you don’t I will come at night with an axe and kill you. I will rip the flesh from your arms.”

Liora Bar-Alon, the defense attorney from the public defender’s office, said “This is a homeless man with difficult economic problems. We believe the criminal process is not the answer to his issues and that he needs social and medical help.”

A police representative agreed that the accused had a problematic psychological background at the session to extend the man’s detention. “During interrogation we could see there’s an emotional problem,” they said, adding that the man has no criminal history.

“The potential to carry out the threats against the prime minister and other public figures is low," Judge Oren Silverman said, "but the defendant regards himself as an “ISIS Jew” and he has also threatened Arabs, Christians, Russians, and others.” Silverman took the unusual step of removing the defendant from the courtroom after he kept interrupting the police.

“You don’t judge a hungry man,” the defendant told the judge at the session. “I don’t have any food.”

The defendant’s father said his son had been born with a rare genetic disease and that he was in rehab from a drug addiction. He asked to have his son placed under house arrest.

Police asked to keep the defendant in custody. “The danger he poses is clear in light of the actions described in the indictment,” their request to extend his detention says. “He threatened to hurt a public figure, making threats again and again in public and he arrived at the gates of the Knesset with a razor that could be used to stab someone. The danger he poses can also be seen from his unstable psychological condition. He poses a danger to all those around him and this makes it hard to trust him or anticipate his actions.”

Police look into Facebook threat

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Police Spokesperson said that after investigating a Facebook account of "Dana Ron," where death threats were posted to Netanyahu in February, it has emerged that the person behind the account is a foreign resident who has not lived in Israel for a long time.

The police added that they are continuing to investigate the matter in coordination with the State Attorney's Office.

Netanyahu said last month that he filed a police complaint over a comment from the fake account.

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