update deskIsrael News

Anti-reform protesters ‘desecrate’ bridge named after Netanyahu’s father

"It's time for them to stop trampling every norm of decency," says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Father of the dictator" signs were placed on the Benzion Netanyahu Interchange, June 7, 2023. Credit: Kumi Israel.
"Father of the dictator" signs were placed on the Benzion Netanyahu Interchange, June 7, 2023. Credit: Kumi Israel.

Protesters against the government’s judicial reform plan on Wednesday morning hung signs on an interchange named after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, Benzion Netanyahu, that read: “Father of the Dictator.”

In smaller letters underneath was written, “The father of a failed and corrupt dictator who has been boycotted in Israel and the world.”

Kumi Israel, the group responsible, tweeted on Wednesday: “Wake up now and shelve the coup d’état, and immediately stop the attacks on the Supreme Court and the gatekeepers, because you won’t succeed in lying to history.”

The prime minister tweeted on Wednesday, “Despicable people today desecrated the monument in memory of my father, the late historian Professor Benzion Netanyahu. We filed a complaint with the police. It’s time for them to stop trampling every norm of decency … .”

The act also drew widespread disapproval from across the media spectrum. A Channel 12 anchor told one of the organizers on Wednesday: “This is exactly what creates antagonism. If a moderate person feels he belongs to this protest, and you come along and desecrate and scorn a monument of a person who died, how can he join you?”

A guest on Channel 14 asked, “What’s next? Desecrating graves?”

Israel’s Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu also condemned the stunt, saying the anti-reform activists have tried to harm Israel’s economy, harassed elected officials and conducted an “antisemitic smear campaign” against the ultra-Orthodox public. “This has never been part of any struggle” in Israel, he said.

“The denigration of the memory of the late professor Benzion Netanyahu this morning in Jerusalem is another layer in the story of an anarchist group that has no red lines. Anarchism under the guise of ‘democracy,’ ” he added.

The Benzion Netanyahu Interchange, located in northern Jerusalem, connects Route 50 with Highway 4197. It was inaugurated in May 2013; Benzion Netanyahu died in 2012. The prime minister’s father was a historian who specialized in Medieval Spanish Jewry.

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