A giant golden statue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared mysteriously in Tel Aviv's most famous square overnight, stunning officials and bemusing passersby.
Not long after sunrise, the gilded effigy had already been slapped with an official warning sticker, calling on its owner to remove it from the central Rabin Square.
The statue was placed at the iconic square by Israeli artist Itay Zalait who in recent weeks has flooded news desks across the country with emails announcing that he "will undertake a subversive artistic political act which will garner much media attention." He was ordered to remove the statue.
Tel Aviv city councilwoman Meital Lehavi said that the municipality is contemplating what to do with statue and said she believed that a decision regarding its removal would be reached by the day's end.
Yael Dayan, a former city councilwoman, said the statue served as a "big middle finger in all our faces. Like [Netanyahu] is the king of Amona, he is the king of Tel Aviv. It shows Israelis that Tel Aviv too is under Netanyahu's regime." Nonetheless, she said she objected to it being placed without a permit.
"The golden calf – that was my initial association," said a Tel Aviv resident who asked to remain anonymous after allegedly being called a "leftist" while at the square.
Avihu, a 28-year-old from the religious town of Elad, offered a more right wing interpretation, saying the statue was befitting a man of Netanyahu's standing.
"It's cool," he said, "Netanyahu earned it. The people elect him again and again."
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