Two Right-wing Activists Investigated for Suspected Threats to Israel's Attorney General

A WhatsApp chat seen by Haaretz shows Likud activist sharing Avichai Mendelblit's phone number and calling on others to harass him

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Avichai Mendelblit attends a conference at Tel Aviv University, January 28, 2020.
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit attends a conference at Tel Aviv University, January 28, 2020.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Two right-wing activists were questioned on Thursday at the Israel Police’s Lahav 433 unit on suspicion of being involved in threats to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

The two, who are said to be supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, were summoned for investigation Wednesday night. Questioning began on Thursday morning to determine their involvement in distributing the attorney general’s phone number and sending threatening messages.

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In a tweet on Thursday, Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz called the threats “a dangerous line that was crossed,” adding: “I’m sure law enforcement authorities will handle those making the threats. In the government we’ll form I intend to back all public servants.”

On Wednesday, the Justice Ministry said Mendelblit informed police after receiving threats on his personal phone.

The messages, which were apparently organized, were sent all throughout Tuesday night and the early hours of Wednesday. They included threats, incitements and invectives, the ministry said in a statement. The ministry's security officer has been briefed, the statement added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listening to then-Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mendelblit during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, November 16, 2014.Credit: AP

A screenshot from a WhatsApp group of Likud activists seen by Haaretz showed a member sharing Mendelblit's number and calling on others to harass him with questions.

Among the texts sent to Mendelblit were calls for him to commit suicide, as well as threats such as "You're vulnerable," and "We'll get to you."

One of the activists who was summoned for questioning told Haaretz that "The messages we sent were a legitimate protest in a democratic state. We told the attorney general what we think of him and his conduct."

He claimed that if someone threatened Mendelblit, "It was certainly not me who asked for it, I didn't want this to happen, and definitely did not threaten him myself."

In February, Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was attempting to dig up dirt on Mendelblit, who had charged him with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three criminal cases. His trial is due to begin on May 24.

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