Police seek maker of video urging death for official

Police, Justice Ministry to boost security for Shai Nitzan of State Attorney's Office after video calls for his death; Nitzan to have full-time bodyguard.

Shai Nitzan 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Shai Nitzan 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Israel Police will mount an intensive search for suspects behind an internet video calling for the killing of attorney Shai Nitzan, head of the Special Tasks Division of the State Attorney’s Office, Insp.- Gen. David Cohen announced on Monday.
Meanwhile, in a rare display of solidarity, left- and rightwing politicians banded together to condemn those behind the death threat.
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“We will run a swift and intensive investigation and use all the tools at our disposal to reach those responsible,” said Cohen. “The potential [for violence] is real and dangerous.
We must not blink in the face of incitement directed against public servants.”
The investigation will be conducted by the National Serious and International Crimes Unit and the Lahav 433 Unit, and will be closely monitored by the Investigation and Intelligence Branch, a police spokesman said.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein and State Attorney Moshe Lador issued a statement saying they regarded the release of the video with utmost gravity, adding that its “distribution is another low in the dangerous phenomenon of incitement against public servants who fulfill their jobs professionally and objectively.”
Channel 2 reported that the police and the Justice Ministry would step up security for Nitzan. He will have a fulltime bodyguard provided by the ministry, while Jerusalem police will closely patrol his home, the report said.
One of Nitzan’s jobs is to deal with incitement. Last week he asked the police to launch an investigation into two Facebook groups that contained anti-Arab content.
Nitzan said the groups, which were opened under the names “Death to all Arabs” and “Demonstration in Umm el-Fahm against the Islamic Movement,” had violated anti-racism and anti-incitement laws.
The “Death to all Arabs” Facebook group had 170 followers.
It included clear calls for acts of violence against Arabs and support for such acts, Nitzan said last week.
The video displays Hebrew words in red letters calling for Nitzan to be murdered and describing him as a traitor “who instead of protecting the Jewish people from Arabs... cooperates with Arabs against the Jewish people.”
The video ends with the slogan, “Kahane was right,” referring to the assassinated head of the outlawed Kach Party, Rabbi Meir Kahane. It was distributed by e-mail and sent on the letterhead of Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.
Neeman issued a statement saying he “wanted to emphasize in the clearest possible way that no such message had been sent from the minister’s bureau.”
He added that the contents of the video “were extremely grave and we totally condemn them. The bureau has passed the information on to the Justice Ministry’s security branch, and a formal complaint was lodged with the police and other enforcement agencies.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on police to investigate the video and track down those who produced it, saying that “criticism is legitimate, but incitement and calls to murder,,, damage the values of democracy in the State of Israel and must be cut off.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said nothing justified a call for murder and that “all discussion needs to be carried out in a legitimate fashion within the framework of the law.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “We must take harsh action against anyone who incites [an attack on] law enforcers and the democratic values of the state. We must cut off this incitement uncompromisingly and with determination.”
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that Israel “must take action against incitement calling for attacks on law enforcement agents as soon as it appears. Determined police action against this dangerous phenomenon is urgently required. Public rejection must be clear and include all political parties.”
Knesset Law Committee chairman David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) said that despite past disputes he had with prosecution officials, “I regard this call to attack them as crossing the red line. There must not be any threats of any kind against anyone because of his office or the way he functions in that office. There are ways to express disagreement, and attacks or threats are not among them.”