'I'll Kill You, Leftists': Israeli Man Suspected of Threatening Protesters Released to House Arrest

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Demonstrators marching in Tel Aviv, Israel, 29 October, 2020.
Demonstrators marching in Tel Aviv, Israel, 29 October, 2020. Credit: Ofer Vaknin

A Tel Aviv resident was arrested Thursday on suspicion of threatening anti-Netanyahu demonstrators with a knife when they marched passed his home, police sources said. 

The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court extended the detention of Gadi Shaltiel, 45, until Sunday. At his hearing, a police spokesman said Shaltiel left his home with a knife and shouted at the protesters, "I will kill you, leftists."

But Shaltiel was later released to house arrest after his defense attorney, Aylon Birnbaum, appealed the decision to the Tel Aviv District Court that ruled that it's unclear whether the suspect left his home while carrying a knife.

Assaf Shapir

District Court Judge Abraham Heiman said that the severity of threats made by Shaltiel while he was at home and "didn't act to realize his threats outside his home" is low.   

In the film taken by photographer Assaf Shapir, Shaltiel is seen making the threats from his window in Tel Aviv's Kerem Hateimanim neighborhood, and shouting at the protester: "I will stab you, I swear on the Torah."

After Shapir approaches the window with his camera, Shaltiel can be seen pushing him, calling him a "leftist psychopath."

Birnbaum, claimed at the court hearing that the case against the defendant was "delusional," arguing that his client did not leave his home. "What is this? The assassination of Rabin?"

According to a police representative, Brig. Gen. Yoni Hirschhorn, the police have some evidence that shows that Shaltiel stood outside his house and threatened the demonstrators with the knife in his hand, and that only afterwards was he seen at his window "in a fitful of rage."

According to the police representative, Shaltiel told investigators that the protesters made a lot of noise and this upset him. His attorney argued that the protesters banged on the windows and doors of Shaltiel's home, and that he acted in self-defense.

"This demonstration is a difficult experience to endure, and contains very violent elements," Birnbaum said, "he has no criminal background, a completely normal guy, he has no extreme political views."

Approximately a thousand people took part in Thursday's protest march against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, which left from Azrieli Bridge toward Habima Square and Rabin Square.

The demonstrators marched for three hours and there were no clashes with police.

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