2 Israelis arrested for suspected incitement against Azaria judges

Police said that the Jerusalem suspect, in his 50s, expressed “extreme criticisms” of the judges.

January 5, 2017 09:44
1 minute read.
Hebron shooter

Clashes erupt outside Tel Aviv court ahead of verdict for Hebron shooter. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Police arrested two suspects on Thursday morning in Jerusalem and Kiryat Gat on suspicion of inciting against the panel of three IDF judges who convicted Sgt. Elor Azaria of manslaughter on Wednesday. This comes as a general uptick in calls for violence is being seen by police on social media, especially Facebook.

Police said that the Jerusalem suspect, 54, expressed “extreme criticisms” of the judges. The suspect will be brought to the Jerusalem Magistrates Court on Thursday, where police are seeking to extend his remand.

In Kiryat Gat, a 22-year-old suspect was arrested for issuing threats against IDF Judge Col. Maya Heller on Facebook on Wednesday. Allegedly she called on Heller to be blown up by a grenade and “eaten by dogs”. The suspect was released and banned from posting on Facebook for 30 days.

Judge Col. Maya Heller, who read the nearly three hour long court decision against Azaria, appears to be taking the brunt of social media backlash and threats. Lt. Col. Carmel Wahabi and Lt. Col. Yaron Sitbon, who were also on the panel have been subjected to threats. All three judges were placed under security details in light of the threats.
Tensions running high shortly before verdict in Hebron shooting case given to Elor Azaria (credit: REUTERS)

“We are monitoring social networks, based on the information that is being put out. Individuals calling for violence or incitement to violence,” Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told the Post, who added that field operations are taking place to locate and detain any suspects.

“Freedom of expression is a leg of democracy,” the Lakhish District Police said in a statement, adding that “the police will act harshly against those that exceed the limits [of expression] permitted to ensure justice.”

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