The cybercrimes department of the state prosecutor’s office recently filed an indictment against a man for online sexual harassment after he tweeted a description of a sexual act on Sarah Netanyahu, wife of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to the indictment, in March 2019, Boaz Drori, 55, tweeted: “I am such a patriot that I feel an obligation to stand Sarah Netanyahu on … and with Jewish power and Zionist determination.”
The indictment was filed in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court by attorney Or Erber. “This tweet amounts to sexual harassment of Mrs. Sarah Netanyahu, since he described a degrading or humiliating act relating to her gender or sexuality.”
An indictment for sexual harassment over an online statement is rare.
In response to Haaretz’s question of whether indictments have been filed in the past for online sexual harassment, the prosecution said that in October a man was prosecuted for this offense alongside others including rape and sexual assault. Drori’s attorney, Advocate Guy Ofir, said it was an unusual indictment.
“I do not understand why a rude joke targeting a public figure led to an indictment,” Ofir said. “Benjamin Netanyahu or someone else took a screenshot of the joke and published the so-called disturbing tweet on the then-prime minister’s page, which has more than 1 million followers.
“It is strange that something that upset Sarah Netanyahu on an account with a few followers would be shared by her husband on an account with 1 million followers. If the tweet were disturbing her husband would not share it on a page with such a large following. The indictment was filed for publicity motives by the prosecution, which is trying to flatter a political party and refute allegations of persecution.”
In 2019, journalist Linoy Bar-Geffen filed a complaint with the police due to a degrading sexual tweet directed at her in an anonymous Twitter account, and the case was closed.
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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.