A Be'er Sheva man was sentenced to eight months of community service on Tuesday for threatening former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter.
The Ashdod Magistrate's Court also imposed 4,500 shekels ($1,425) in fines on Asher Ben Dor, 39. Some of the fines were due to his violation of a previous commitment to stop making threats, due to a prior conviction for threatening his partner.
Ben Dor tweeted in June 2020: “Does anyone know of plans to assassinate the prime minister? Anyone know…I'd be happy to take part. It seems to me the time has come, it seems to me that enough is enough.” Within days, Ben Dor was arrested and put on trial.
When he was indicted, Ben Dor told the court he had “written something stupid in a moment of anger. I’m not a criminal, I’m not a violent person, I’m a person who complains, a person who writes.”
In her verdict, Judge Liat Shamir-Heersh wrote that Ben Dor’s life included “harsh circumstances, based on economic and family distress, which influenced his actions today,” and that she took that into account in her sentencing.
She also noted that according to the expert opinion presented to the court, "the basis for his behavior is rooted in the difficult circumstances of his life and his feeling of deprivation, which served as the foundation for his violent behavior toward political figures." But, Shamir-Heersh wrote, Ben Dor is trying to live a “normal life, stay continuously employed and take care of himself, while trying to distance himself from violence and control his impulsive behavior,” she wrote.
Ben Dor’s lawyer, Daniel Haklay, said that "threats are a serious and unacceptable thing, and threats against a prime minister or any other public figure are especially serious and unacceptable. My client understands that quite well today. He has expressed deep remorse for his hasty act. Even though he never intended to harm Mr. Netanyahu, it is clear that this is an act worthy of all condemnation. Mr. Ben Dor is now in a treatment program and he is progressing appropriately.”
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Last week, the cybercrimes department of the state prosecutor’s office filed an indictment against a man for online sexual harassment after he tweeted a description of a sexual act on Sarah Netanyahu, the former prime minister's wife.
According to the indictment, a March 2019 tweet from Boaz Drori, 55, “amounts to sexual harassment of Mrs. Sarah Netanyahu, since he described a degrading or humiliating act relating to her gender or sexuality.” The prosecution stated in the indictment that Drori had about 1,000 followers who were directly exposed to the tweet. It also noted that the tweet received 22 likes, 23 responses and eight retweets.