Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin NetanyahuKobi Gideon/GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the statements of Otzma Yehudit MK Tzvika Fogel calling on opposition leaders to be arrested for "treason."

Netanyahu spoke to President Isaac Herzog about MK Fogel's statements and told the President: "In a democratic country, you don't arrest the leaders of the opposition, just like you don't call the ministers of the government Nazis, the Jewish government the Third Reich, and the citizens don't go out for civil riots."

President Isaac Herzog issued a statement calling for political rhetoric to be toned down Tuesday evening following Fogel's statements.

"The values of the Declaration of Independence are the compass of our country - I will not allow them to be harmed. This is a sensitive and explosive period for the Israeli public. I am awake to the voices heard here and there, and to all the pains, worries and anxieties. It keeps me busy non-stop," Herzog said.

"In recent days, I have been working and holding talks with many parties and am doing everything with the aim of bringing about a dignified and respectful dialogue. I hope to reach as broad an understanding as possible. I am turning to you - elected officials and citizens of Israel from the entire public and political spectrum - show restraint and responsibility. We must calm the spirits and lower the the flames. We have no other country," the President said.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said said in response to MK Fogel's statements: "This is how democracy collapses, in one day. Ben-Gvir says that they will use water cannons against our demonstrators, MK Fogel says that Benny Gantz and I should be arrested and thrown in jail for treason because we spoke against the government and in Be'er Sheva they are trying to run over our students because they are demonstrating and using their right to freedom of expression."

"We will not allow them to run over us, we will not allow them to run over our beloved country", Lapid said.

National Unity party chairman Benny Gantz added: "Netanyahu, the State of Israel needs broad consensus and not the continuation of incitement and factionalism. Your actions which are directed against the protection of individual rights and against the basic principles of democracy lead to the actions on the ground. I call on you to condemn the attack on the demonstrators and the harsh statements and work to unify in the face of the divisions in the nation and not to deepen them."

"I call on everyone for whom Israeli democracy is important to continue to fight for it in all legal and democratic ways. We will do it without violence and incitement but without fear," Gantz said.