The police announced on Sunday it will launch an investigation into remarks made by the murderer of a left-wing activist at a 1983 rally, who called anti-Netanyahu protesters “germs” that should be “removed from society.”
Yona Avrushmi, who was released in 2011 after being imprisoned for the murder of Emil Grunzweig at a Peace Now rally, told Channel 12 News on Friday that Israelis taking part in protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, which have grown in recent weeks “are evil people, enemies of the nation.”
His remarks in a rare TV appearance led an anti-Netanyahu protest group to lodge a complaint with the police.
According to the police’s Sunday statement, they will summon Avrushmi for interrogation.
Avrushmi's attorney, Avi Amiram, called the decision to investigate his remarks "a violation of the right to free speech," arguing that he only spoke, but did not act.
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Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn welcomed the police's announcement, saying "It's our duty to do everything we can to prevent the next political murder. This is exactly what we're fighting about."
Avrushmi’s words echo what he said during his interrogation over the 1983 murder, that the demonstrators he had thrown a grenade at were like “germs that need to be exterminated.
There have been multiple arrests of people suspected of physically assaulting protesters at anti-Netanyahu demonstrations because of right-wing beliefs, and while Netanyahu has alleged violent incitement and threats against him, others have accused him of being ultimately responsible for attacks on protesters.
Jonathan Lis and Netael Bandel contributed to this report.