Netanyahu faces an ongoing corruption trial and allegations of undemocratic power are taking hold of remaining in high positions. To make its woes worse, an increase in coronavirus infections has seen unemployment soar to 21%, with public anger focused on the government’s botched response to the pandemic.
Displayed in Rabin Square, the focal point of the city’s protests, the installation depicts Netanyahu alone at a 10-meter-long table, surrounded by candles and a medieval fruit and pastries feast.
Although inspired by the 15th-century Leonardo da Vinci mural, the spread includes pink champagne and cigars, a nod to allegations of corruption. One of the three cases against him alleges that his family received luxury gifts from two wealthy businessmen. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.
The oldest Israeli leader said on Wednesday that the simulated painting of Jesus’ last meal before his assassination amounted to a death threat because it implied he was heading for the same fate.
“There is no place for incitement and threats of murder – explicit and implicit – against me and my family, including the shameful threat of crucifixion today in Tel Aviv,” he said. on Twitter.
Rather, artist Itay Zalait said the fake banquet was meant to symbolize the last supper for democratic freedoms for Israelis.
“You have the Prime Minister of Israel sitting in the center of the table and grabbing and sucking all this rich food for himself,” Zalait told The Associated Press. “Now he’s pretty much done with that meal, and it’s now at the dessert stage, which refers to the last few minutes when we can do something to save Israeli democracy.
Zalait is renowned in the country for his life-size political art. In 2016, he made a golden statue of Netanyahu, making fun of what he said was blind support for the leader of Israel.
Two years later, he erected a statue of Netanyahu’s ally and former Culture Minister Miri Regev, admiring himself in a standing mirror. The work followed a bill she had promoted that would have reduced public funds to cultural organizations accused of not showing “loyalty” to the state.
Regev, who remains in cabinet as transport minister, also criticized Zalait’s latest exposure as incitement to hatred.
“Is anyone suggesting that the Prime Minister’s future is that of the Last Supper dinner?” she wrote on Twitter. “It’s only a matter of time until there is an exposure of the gallows and a rope.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.