Israeli police on Wednesday discovered a bronze statue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu erected in Tel Aviv's Habima Square wherein he is posing naked. The statue, placed on a metallic-looking pedestal, portrays a naked Netanyahu crouching and seemingly urinating, Israeli daily Jerusalem Post reported.
The discovery of the statue has resulted uproar in Israeli parliament on Wednesday as it is being seen as a symbol of protest. Moreover, the incident comes just days before Israel heads to polls. Police is now investigating the incident and is questioning people who live nearby but the search for the mystery sculptor continues, local media reported.
Mocking the Prime Minister
The gloomy, charcoal-gray statue statue shows a naked Netanyahu squatting naked and posing as if he is urinating. The video clip of the statue appeared to offend Netanyahu, who is preparing to run in elections a week from now. Interestingly, the artist apparently also set up a table nearby with snacks to draw the attention of passersby and monitor their reactions.
The short-lived installation reportedly provoked a range of emotions in Tel Aviv residents. Some were seen snapping photos of the statue, while others gestured angrily at it. The statue was reportedly later removed by Tel Aviv municipality inspectors.
Municipal authorities set up barriers around the installation and posted a removal note on the statue, while police arrived in an attempt to trace those behind it. Tel Aviv police officers are presently questioning bystanders, the outlet reported. It was not immediately clear who put the statue in the square, but it was seen as a form of protest against Netanyahu. The Israeli premier considers the polls "fateful."
Not the First Time
However, this isn't the first time an art installation protesting Netanyahu's rule has been spotted in Tel Aviv. Last year an artist installed a pop-up exhibit in Rabin Square of a life-sized statue of Netanyahu enjoying a lavish meal by himself at a sprawling table, in a parody of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper."
Prior to that, in 2016, a life-size golden figure of Netanyahu appeared in the center of Tel Aviv. Both this and the 2020 work were attributed to Israeli artist Itay Zalait, who said they were a form of political protest.
In December last year, a Zalait statue inspired by an iconic photo of a demonstrator against Netanyahu was installed in Rabin Square. The sculpture, which is based on a picture of a protester holding Israel's national flag against a stream of liquid shot from a water cannon, was installed with the permission of the Tel Aviv municipality.
However, it was taken down a week earlier from its original location in Jerusalem, near Netanyahu's residence, where it was reportedly erected without a permit.
Heading the right-wing Likud Party, Netanyahu is the longest-serving prime minister in Israel's history with more than 14 years in office, and is expected to win this year's elections too. However, this is the fourth time in two years that the Israelis will be voting.