Protesters vandalize memorial for Netanyahu’s father; PM files police complaint

The canvas sign covering the memorial stone called the prime minister “a failed and corrupt dictator.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu filed a police complaint Wednesday against anti-judicial reform protestors who covered over a memorial stone for his father earlier in the day.

“Vile people vandalized the memorial in honor of my father today,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “We filed a complaint with the police. The time has come for them to stop trampling on every norm of fairness and decency.”

The protesters attached a canvas sign over the wording of a stone at a junction of Begin Boulevard in Jerusalem. Its top line said, “Junction named for the father of the dictator,” with the line below it stating, “The father of a failed and corrupt dictator who has become boycotted in Israel and the world.”

The stone underneath said that it had been named for “the noted historian, Zionist and Jerusalem lover, Benzion Netanyahu.” The memorial was placed there in 2013, a year after his death at age 102.

According to Hebrew media reports, the culprits were IDF veterans of special operations units who held a short ceremony early in the morning to “rename” the interchange. Journalist Ben Caspit, a longtime critic of Netanyahu, tweeted that the message to the prime minister from “the most militant and creative group” of anti-reform protestors was: “Wake up now and shelve the coup d’état, and immediately stop the attacks on the High Court and the gatekeepers, because you won’t be able to lie to history.”

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While tens and even hundreds of thousands have shown up every Saturday night for months in Tel Aviv and other cities to demonstrate against the government’s planned reform of the judiciary, much smaller groups have gone to other, strategic venues.

In January, a leftist activist left a letter on Netanyahu’s father’s grave calling the prime minister “demented and weak” and slamming him for “enabling a group of racists, fascists, homophobes and serial criminals to drag the State of Israel into being a failed kleptocracy in a bad case, or an isolated dictatorship in the worst case.”

On Friday, some 250 people demonstrated in front of the prime minister’s home in Caesarea. The protest turned violent after police used force to break it up, with video clips showing officers shoving and beating several people. The authorities said they had received no notice or request for a permit for the protest and were therefore called to disperse the crowd.

Four people were arrested, and when requests went out on social media to support the detainees, dozens answered the call and went to the police station where they were being held. The police then arrested another six people at the scene.

Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai appointed a team of senior officers to investigate the allegations of police brutality.