Police Indict Two Suspects for Threatening and Attacking anti-Netanyahu Protesters

Thousands of Israelis demonstrate against Netanyahu every week, calling on him to resign over his criminal charges

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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A man wears a mask at a protest outside of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, Saturday, October 24, 2020.
A man wears a mask at a protest outside of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, Saturday, October 24, 2020. Credit: Maya Alleruzzo,AP
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Israel Police filed indictments on Thursday against two people suspected of attacking protesters against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lidor Bitton, a 29-year-old Jerusalem resident, was indicted for disorderly conduct and making threats.

According to the indictment, about a month and a half ago, Bitton threw a stone and three eggs at a group of demonstraters at a junction in Jerusalem. He also threatened one of the protesters with violence.

In the second case, Rahamim Ben Yehuda was indicted for assault, causing bodily injury. Ben Yehuda allegedly tried to snatch a megaphone from a protest activist during a demonstration on Balfour Street near the prime minister's official residence in July. The protester was injured in the hand when she tried to fend off Ben Yehuda.

Unlike the indictments filed this week against protesters on suspicion of assault and interference with police officers, these indictments were filed by the police and not by the prosecution.

In recent months, anti-Netanyahu protesters have reported several incidents of attacks against them, both by police and by Netanyahu supporters. 

Earlier this week, Police arrested two teens in the northern Israeli town of Shlomi on suspicion of throwing stones anti-Netanyahu protesters, after initially refusing to do so, calling it a “mischievous prank” rather than a political act.

An anti-Netanyahu protester being arrested by the Israel police during a protest march to Jerusalem, November 14, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

The Black Flags movement, one of the organizers of the protests against Netanyahu, said the police “claimed that this was a ‘mischievous prank,’ but after public pressure, brought the two suspected stone throwers in for ‘interrogation’."

Despite the photographed incident, it decided not to bring them before a judge and not to indict them.

“In Israel, stone throwers are indicted,” the group’s statement continued. “They aren’t given a cup of coffee and a hug. This isn’t the Israel Police, it’s the Netanyahu Police. Acting Police Commissioner Moti Cohen should be ashamed of what is happening to the organization on his watch.”

In mid-October, several assaults against anti-Netanyahu protesters took place at the Mediatheque plaza and Kugel Square in Holon, with the suspects being affiliated with La Familia, an extremist organization of fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team.

No indictments were filed, although some of the incidents were filmed and in at least one case an assailant was caught on camera for the full duration of an attack.

Protesters across Israel are taking to the streets every week, demanding Netanyahu resign over criminal charges against him. 

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