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Lapid vows to defeat ‘terror-supporting’ Netanyahu government

Israeli opposition head speaks amid uproar over protest leader's call to assassinate the prime minister.

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Yesh Atid Party activists protest in Tel Aviv against Benjamin Netanyahu's incoming government, Dec. 9, 2022. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Yesh Atid Party activists protest in Tel Aviv against Benjamin Netanyahu's incoming government, Dec. 9, 2022. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid, speaking on Sunday amid the furor triggered by a call by an anti-government protest leader to assassinate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vowed to continue fighting against the government until it is defeated.

“The new spin of the poison machine: Bibi [Netanyahu], [Finance Minister Bezalel] Smotrich and [National Security Minister Itamar] Ben-Gvir think they can preach morality to us. This weak, racist and terror-supporting trio—it’s time to understand we don’t work for you, you won’t silence us and we won’t take your lessons in democracy,” wrote Lapid in a post to Twitter.

“You are leading us to an end Israel as we know it. We’ll fight you and win,” he added.

Netanyahu on Saturday night harshly criticized what he said was a “growing wave” of threats directed at himself and other officials.

“It seemed that all boundaries had been crossed by threats against elected officials and myself, but this is not the case, because we have now heard and seen an explicit threat to murder the prime minister of Israel,” said Netanyahu in a statement.

The remarks came after former Israel Air Force pilot Ze’ev Raz wrote on Facebook on Friday: “If a prime minister rises and assumes dictatorial powers, he is a dead man, it’s that simple…. There’s an obligation to kill him.”

Raz was questioned by police on Sunday.

Demonstrators converged on central  Tel Aviv on Saturday night for the fifth consecutive week, ostensibly in opposition to the government’s judicial reform plan.

The proposal includes changing the way judges are selected so that the Knesset members will have majority say on the Judicial Selection Committee; passing an “override clause,” a law that would give legislators the power to reverse, or “override,” the Supreme Court when it strikes down laws; abolishing the legal justification of “reasonableness” by which the court can cancel Knesset decisions; and empowering ministers to hire and fire their own legal advisers.

Netanyahu has rejected as “baseless” claims by critics that the reforms would mark the end of the country’s democracy, and vowed to implement them “responsibly.”

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