JERUSALEM (JTA) — A golden statue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared overnight in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, only to be knocked down hours later by Israelis.
Israeli sculptor Itay Zalait placed the sculpture mounted on a white platform as a political statement and called on the public to “topple” it. He said it was the first in a series of political-artistic acts he is planning.
Hours before the 5-foot-tall statue was removed Tuesday by Israelis, the municipality placed a notice on the sculpture warning that it would remove the piece and charge the artist unless he removed it within four hours.
The appearance of the statue was the top story on news reports Tuesday morning and created lively debate on Facebook. Some referred to the piece as a “golden calf,” using a biblical reference, and many stopped to take selfies with it.
“Many people in Israel refer to Benjamin Netanyahu as ‘the King Bibi,’ so it was only natural to put the king on the square of the Kings, the previous name of Rabin Square,” the artist told The Associated Press. “I just want to ask the question, like, to see if it’s going to make some change in the people’s mind.”