Former IDF pilot calls to assassinate Netanyahu ahead of left-wing protest

Israeli prime minister calls on police to arrest left-wing protest leader, who called for his assassination ahead of mass Tel Aviv demonstration.

By World Israel News Staff

The leader of a left-wing protest movement called for the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday, ahead of a mass protest in Tel Aviv against the Netanyahu government.

Zeev Raz, a former Israel Air Force fighter pilot who took part in the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, penned a Facebook post Friday evening, chiding a David Hodek, a top Israeli lawyer and a war hero, for being “too moderate” in his criticism of Netanyahu.

On Wednesday, Hodek told the Israel Bar Association’s annual conference in Eilat that he “would not hesitate to use live fire” if the Netanyahu government implements its plan for judicial reform.

Raz responded by invoking the Jewish legal term of “rodef,” or “pursuer,” against whom Jewish tradition permits the use of violence if necessary, in order to save the lives of the innocent.

Then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was famously categorized as a “rodef” by some of his critics prior to his assassination in November 1995.

“If a prime minister establishes dictatorial powers for himself, that prime minister is a dead man, simple as that – along with his ministers and everyone else who obeys him,” wrote Raz.

Read  Biden warns Netanyahu of 'extremist settlers,' calls for 'tactical pauses' in Gaza

“We also can use the law of ‘rodef’. My idea of a ‘rodef’ is: If a man takes over my country – be that person foreign or Israeli – and leads it in an undemocratic fashion, it is imperative that he be killed.”

Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid condemned Raz’s comments and urged protesters at Saturday night’s anti-government protest not to use violence, tweeting: “I strongly condemn in every way the incitement and calls for the killing of Netanyahu. This battle is for the soul of the state. Incitement and violence only harm the fight to save the country. I call on all those who love this country to protest, go out to the streets, but keep the rule of law — don’t resort to violence.”

Former Defense Minister Benny Gantz also condemned Raz’s call to violence.

“It is absolutely forbidden to be dragged to those places, and no one has the license to incite, no matter how much they may have contributed to the country.”

“We will fight… in the streets, in the parliament and by other means – [but] not through incitement and calls for murder.”

A day after Raz’s Facebook post, thousands of left-wing demonstrators gathered in the coastal city, the latest in a series of weekly protests against the government’s plans to reform the country’s judicial system.

Read  Netanyahu meets bipartisan US congressional delegation

Following criticism of the post, Raz deleted his comment and distance himself from his own post, writing: “I do not identify with that post.”

Police announced Saturday night that a probe has been opened into Raz’s comments.

Just before departing France on a return flight to Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu called for police to arrest Raz.

“In recent weeks, we have witnessed a growing wave of daily incitement that crosses boundaries. It had seemed that all boundaries have been crossed by threats against elected officials and myself, but it seems that this is not the case because today we have heard and seen an explicit threat to murder the Prime Minister of Israel.”

“I know that there is a debate over what endangers democracy but this is not something that is subject to dispute – this truly endangers democracy.”

“I expect the law enforcement and security officials, who spoke out so clearly and sharply, during the tenure of the previous government, about phenomena that were much less serious, to come out – with the same severity and clarity – against this terrible phenomenon.”

“I expect the law enforcement officials to take immediate action against those who are inciting to murder, and I expect the leaders of the opposition to speak out as vigorously and as strongly as I did. Ours is a complicated time and we need to do what is expected of us as public leaders. We cannot be silent about this.”