No jail time, fine in plea deal for man who threatened PM, family

The court said that it had accepted the lenient plea deal against Zvi Tsabag, age 57, because of his poor health and economic status.

WILL NETANYAHU continue to keep his ministers in the shadows? (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
WILL NETANYAHU continue to keep his ministers in the shadows?
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
An Ashkelon man who threatened the life of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family on Facebook was given an extremely light sentence by the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
The sentence included no prison time or fine and only a suspended sentence of two months in prison if he repeats the same illegal actions.
The court said that it had accepted the lenient plea deal against Zvi Tsabag, age 57, because of his poor health and economic status as well as the absence of any prior criminal record.
Explaining the parameters of the plea deal, an introductory statement said that the standard fine imposed for incitement such as Tsabag’s actions was waived due to those unique circumstances.
Tsabag’s court-appointed lawyers from the Public Defender’s Office praised the plea deal and argued that there could have been evidentiary difficulties for the prosecution had they not cut a deal.
The Justice Ministry said that the lenient sentence also stemmed from the crime being mere threats as opposed to the more severe crime of incitement. A spokeswoman added that Tsabag had self-removed the post and also implied that he may have not been entirely mentally stable.
On November 4, 2019, Tsabag posted a picture on Facebook of the prime minister hanging from a noose. He wrote, “I hate Benjamin, Sara and Yair Netanyahu to death, including anyone who cooperates with them.”
In a later post that day, he posted, “Israeli police: get ready to direct the traffic for the burial of Benjamin, Sara and Yair Netanyahu.”
In addition, he posted that Yair Netanyahu should not bother going to the hospital if he started feeling ill, since this would be a sign “that you are about to die and be removed from this world,” implying some kind of poisoning or other deadly action against him.
Back in November, the prime minister had referred the issue to the police, and he and Public Security Minister Amir Ohana have claimed until now that those inciting against Netanyahu are not being called to task by the prosecution.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court slapped Yair Netanyahu in August with a restraining order, prohibiting him from tweeting or otherwise publishing commentary about the leaders of the current protest movement against his father for six months. In addition, the court ordered Yair to delete the tweets he had posted online against the protest leaders of the “Crime Minister” movement.
The court’s order was extraordinary since, while Yair has been sued before for defamation and accused of general incitement and issued some apologies, he has never been preemptively restrained from tweeting against a particular person or group.
A man named Dor Oved was convicted in 2014 for sending a letter to Netanyahu, threatening that if he “will perpetrate the release of filthy and sleazy terrorist Arabs, or as you call it a ‘gesture,’ someone will get hurt, I promise you someone will get hurt.
“You will be the first one, may your name be wiped out, you sleaze,” Oved wrote, and said that Netanyahu “would end up like Yitzhak Rabin.”