Culture minister compares law enforcement to Purim villains

Miri Regev causes outrage after comparing law enforcement officers to figures from Purim story who plotted against the king.

Tzvi Lev ,

Miri Regev on Saturday night
Miri Regev on Saturday night
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Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) sparked condemnations after she compared law enforcement officers to Bigtan and Seresh from the Purim story, who plotted to depose King Ahasuerus before being unmasked by the hero Mordechai.

Speaking at an event in Rishon Lezion on Saturday night, Regev said the investigator and judge who colluded on extending the remand of those involved in the probe allegedly involving Prime Minister Netanyahu and nicknamed 'Case 4000' are no different from the Bigtan and Seresh duo who attempted to remove their leader through improper means.

"We read the Book of Esther this week and there too there were gatekeepers, Bigtan and Seresh," said Regev. "They were a perfect match. They looked like statesmen, they kept the rule of law and cared about proper administration, but deep in their pockets, they kept a guillotine."

"It turned out that as soon as they did not agree with the king, with his way of running the kingdom, all the rules disappeared, the state disappeared, the rule of law became less critical," added the minister.

Regev's guillotine remark was likely referring to a left-wing activist who had brandished a guillotine cutout at an anti-Netanyahu demonstration in Tel Aviv back in December.

Regev said that if Bigtan and Seresh from the Purim story "had mobile phones, they would probably be texting to each other. 'What do you say we give him another two days, maybe three?' And 'It's important that you look surprised, will you?' "

Regev was talking about last week's report publicizing a series of WhatsApp messages between Justice Poznansky-Katz and Israel Securities Authority investigator Eran Shaham-Shavit before the remand hearing for suspects arrested as part of the “Case 4000”investigation.

In the messages, the Israel Securities Authority official informed Poznansky-Katz of his agency’s intention to request that several suspects’ arrests be extended, telling the judge to “act surprised” when he makes the request in court.

“I’ll practice looking surprised,” replied Poznansky-Katz

Regev's remarks sparked outrage, with many MKs and reporters contending that her remarks amounted to an attack on the police and judicial system.

"What right do you have to come out against the gatekeepers, the people who do their work for all of us - policemen, judges and lawyers?" asked MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu).

Stung by the criticism, Regev stressed on Sunday that she had "not meant to harm anyone" and accused the media of "again distorting my remarks".