(photo credit: KNESSET)
A Jerusalem judge on Thursday released the 25-year-old ultra-Orthodox man who threatened the life of Shas MK Eli Yishai earlier in the week, on the condition that he stay 100 meters away from the politician and not contact him or attend his political events for six months.
According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, Benjamin Yoshua Niki was arrested Monday after issuing a number of violent threats against Yishai at a raucous press conference earlier that day at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem.
Niki was among dozens of haredi Shas supporters who loudly interrupted the MK’s announcement that he will leave Shas to create a new party – called Ha’am Itanu – by screaming and attempting to accost Yishai.
Prior to the MK’s appearance on a podium at the gathering, a Shas supporter stormed the stage with a framed image of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef while screaming “[Yosef] is with us, with Shas!” amid a chorus of cheers by party loyalists.
Niki then allegedly shouted, “We have blood in our eyes! There is no separation between the end and the means! Yishai is a zero! We will hurt him!” before security personnel escorted Yishai to safety and removed his detractors from the banquet hall.
Police were called in after physical altercations erupted between Shas and Ha’am Itanu members, and Niki was subsequently placed under arrest, Rosenfeld said.
“He was arrested after making direct threats [against Yishai] and police are not taking any chances whatsoever,” he said.
Upon Niki’s release Thursday afternoon, the judge also ordered the 25-year-old and members of his family to have no contact with Yishai and stay away from the MK’s political gatherings for 180 days, Rosenfeld said.
Meanwhile, Yishai has since been assigned a security detail to protect him.