Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is known for his fervent supporters, many of whom refer to him as “King Bibi,” but a prominent Likud activist took things even further on Sunday evening at a party event when she attempted to drape a golden medallion featuring the former prime minister’s visage around lawmaker Israel Katz’s neck.
In a video clip widely circulated online, Heidi Mozes could be heard declaring that the necklace was “a declaration of allegiance to our party,” adding “we are proud to be in this party that we have excellent elected officials and a wonderful soon to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Katz quickly removed the medallion, which featured Netanyahu’s face and an image of the Israeli flag, tweeting that “someone tried to wear a necklace around my neck. I never wear necklaces, so as you can see in the video—I removed it immediately without knowing at all what the necklace was.”
“The idea of the necklace is cool and stunning,” Mozes told News 12, explaining that she had been handed the jewelry by a third party at the event. "I think that just as we have moments of Rabin, Ben-Gurion and more … I did not understand why everyone is scared of a bit of necklace.”
Sunday’s incident followed a minor controversy over a picture of Likud lawmaker Shlomo Karhi sitting next to what appeared to be a gold-colored bust of Netanyahu.
Making fun of Karhi, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted the Biblical verse “thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything” while Karhi responded to his critics by posting a video of a friend’s office with its collection of bobble heads and busts and asserting that according to the Shulchan Aruch, or Code of Jewish Law, such images are permitted.
In 2016, a golden statue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was toppled by Israelis after it appeared in Tel Aviv's main square overnight.
A few hours after it had been set up, the gilded effigy was knocked down by citizens who were invited to Rabin Square through social media to try and "topple Netanyahu" themselves. The statue had been placed at the iconic square by Israeli artist Itay Zalait, who, in the weeks before the stunt, had flooded news desks across the country with emails announcing that he "will undertake a subversive artistic political act which will garner much media attention." The statue was meant to protest Netanyahu's hold on power.
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Supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump have used similar imagery, although unironically, in the past.
The medallion was similar to a “Trump Half Shekel Temple Coin” featuring Trump’s face next to that of the ancient Persian leader Cyrus the Great, who allowed the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, which was sold online to commemorate the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while Karhi’s statue was reminiscent of a golden statue of Trump erected at last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference.