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February 5, 2023 2:42 pm

Prominent Israeli Ex-Pilot interrogated Over Alleged Death Threat to PM

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Israel’s Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar speaks at Reichman University in Herzliya on Sunday, September 11, 2022. Photo: Screenshot

i24 News – Israeli police on Sunday detained for questioning a social activist and highly decorated former pilot in connection with alleged incitement to murder against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several other senior government officials.

Earlier in the day Ronen Bar, the head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, spoke with police commissioner Kobi Shabtai regarding the “increase in violent and inciteful discourse against the prime minister and other elected officials.”

“The past few days saw an increase in the scope and severity of rhetoric, especially on social networks, that contains calls for physical harm and violent activity against the head of government and other elected officials,” the agency said in a statement.

Ze’ev Raz is a former Israel Air Forces (IAF) pilot who participated in the 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor. More recently, he came to public prominence as one of the leaders of the so-called Balfour protests of 2020-2021, held near Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence. He is currently associated with the protest movement against the package of judicial reform put forth by Justice Minister Yariv Levin.

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In a Facebook post on Friday, ahead of another large-scale protest against the judicial reform, he wrote that if a leader acts “in a dictatorial way, there’s an obligation to kill them. If a prime minister stands up and assumes dictatorial powers for himself, he is a dead man, it’s as simple as that,” Raz added without mentioning Netanyahu’s name.

He was released on Sunday pending further investigation.

The post sparked online backlash and was later deleted. In a statement issued late Saturday, police said they had opened an investigation on “suspicion of incitement and threats.” Netanyahu condemned the threats as a “real danger to democracy.”

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