Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated on Thursday evening that the vandalism of the grave of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s father was “a shocking act that should be unequivocally condemned.”
Mandelblit discovered the desecration 10 days ago while visiting his mother’s grave on her yahrtzeit, Hadashot and Channel 10 news reported.
He filed a complaint with police that the tombstone of his father, Baruch, had been smashed with a heavy tool, likely a hammer, the reports said.
No other graves in the area were damaged, indicating the perpetrators had singled out his father’s grave.
The prime minister said he asked Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to investigate, and Erdan said he ordered police to “do everything to reach and prosecute the lowlife criminals who committed this vile and shocking act.”
President Reuven Rivlin and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked issued statements condemning the vandalism.
Opposition leaders found someone else to condemn as well, blaming Netanyahu for inciting against Mandelblit.
“When you encourage violence against the left and thuggishly threaten the attorney general, it’s no wonder that people take the law into their own hands,” Zionist Camp chairman Avi Gabbay tweeted.
“We saw where that led in 1995,” Gabbay wrote, referring to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist, which some have blamed on incitement by Netanyahu. “The man is the same man, and the insinuations are the same insinuations.”
Earlier on Thursday, there was a report in Yisrael Hayom attributed to Netanyahu warning of a “merciless” attack on the attorney general if he announced an indictment against the premier in the corruption cases before the April 9 elections.
A senior Likud source warned earlier this week that if a decision to indict Netanyahu is made before the elections, Mandelblit “will become the target of a merciless attack” by party officials.
Some versions of the same story attributed the threat to Netanyahu himself.
The Likud party issued a denial on Thursday that Netanyahu said these things. “Prime Minister Netanyahu has not spoken to anyone about this,” it said.
“No one in Likud is threatening the attorney general,” the statement said, charging instead that “threats and pressures to indict Netanyahu at any cost and by any means come daily from the left and the media.”
Netanyahu’s lawyer later sent a letter to Mandelblit, calling the Yisrael Hayom report “unfounded” and maintaining that the prime minister never made such remarks, Hadashot reported.