A poster anonymously hung in the stairwell of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem that portrays a noose superimposed on a rendering of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that is reminiscent of US President Barack Obama's campaign poster modifies the Democrat's slogan of "Hope" with a more grim "Rope" was removed after a few hours.
Bezalel's students' union said that it did not know who was behind the poster, but did clarify that it was the work of an individual student expressing themselves artistically, clarifying, "We certainly do not support messages calling for violence and incitement of any kind whatever and even oppose that. However, as a design institution, we believe in the freedom of expression and art and are for providing an expression for the entire rainbow of opinions, within the boundaries of the law."
Its chairman, Nadav Heipert, said, "In Bezalel, lots of strange works are hung on the wall, some of which are connected to politics and some of which aren't."
President Reuven Rivlin wrote on his Facebook page that the poster "crossed lines" and was incitement against Netanyahu.
Ram Shefa, the National Union of Israeli Students' chairman, commented, "As young people, students, freedom of expression is extremely important. It produces value, criticism, involvement, certainly in art disciplines, academia and in general. However, we will never agree with calls to violence of any kind whatsoever. All types of opinions are worthy of the spotlight, but not at the cost of incitement."
Leader of the Opposition Isaac Herzog and Culture Minister Miri Regev also condemned the poster separately, also supporting freedom of expression but drawing the line at inciting to violence. Regev posited that were it Herzog depicted in the picture, "There would have been arrests already. I call on Minister of Education Bennett and say the time has come for you too to draw a line between art and incitement."
Bezalel itself commented that it was investigating if the posters were part of a course assignment of the private work of a student. Regardless, they said, the creation was a creation internal to Bezalel "as part of an ongoing dialogue on design, art and culture, including the issues of borders, reproducing images and memory. The exercise, more or less successful, is part of professional discourse, hung on the internal wall in a stairwell in the academy and not presented publicly, has no political incitement and should be judged accordingly."