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Death threats sent to PM Bennett and family – The Australian Jewish News



A letter addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his family included death threats and a live bullet, police said on Tuesday afternoon.

Security officials in Bennett’s Office immediately decided to reinforce the unit responsible for protecting Bennett’s family, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

According to a police statement, the Lahav 433 serious crime unit and the Shin Bet security agency launched a joint investigation into the threatening letter.

The letter was sent to a building adjacent to Bennett’s family home in Ra’anana, which he is using rather than the official Prime Minister’s Residence, and was addressed to both him and his family, Channel 12 news reported. It later specified that the letter was delivered to the office where Bennett’s wife Gilat works.

The letter, which reportedly arrived on Tuesday morning, contained “detailed murder threats” to the prime minister and his family, the TV report said. Quoting sources close to the investigation, it said whoever sent it had “gathered information” regarding the family, and that this was a factor in the immediate raising of security.

A court-imposed gag order has prohibited many details of the case from being published.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that security for Bennett’s family was increased following assessments by officials.

Without citing a source, Channel 12 said the letter was not considered to represent “genuine danger” to the Bennett family, but added that “nobody is taking any chances.”

Bennett said on Twitter that political disputes shouldn’t rise to the level of “violence, bullying or death threats.”

“I’m the prime minister and a political figure, but I’m also a husband and father and it’s my duty to protect my wife and children,” he wrote.

This period ahead of Memorial Day and Independence Day, he said, “is the time for calming and reconciliation.”

Bennett’s coalition partners, including Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, denounced the threatening letter and bullet.

Gantz said the threats were “the crossing of a red line,” adding that “a bullet in an envelope can turn into three bullets fired from a pistol” — in reference to the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by a right-wing extremist in 1995.

By contrast, Religious Zionism party leader Bezalel Smotrich, a bitter rival of Bennett’s, questioned whether the incident was a case of “spin to boost Bennett’s [political] standing.”

Meanwhile, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a crowd at a Mimouna celebration in northern Israel on Saturday night that he will be back in power soon.

“This year’s holiday has a new flavour, the flavour of hope, a lot of hope,” Netanyahu said.

“I meet a lot of citizens who are full of hope, who are hoping and believing that we’ll bring the Israeli government back on the right track, the secure track, the track that will promise security and attainment for all of Israel’s citizens,” Netanyahu said.

Bennett’s coalition lost its Knesset majority before Passover when Idit Silman, a member of Bennett’s Yamina party, quit the government, leaving the Knesset deadlocked.

Bennett himself attended a Mimouna celebration on Saturday night at a family home in the town of Shilat in central Israel.

“I want to tell everyone here and all of Israel — our nation is the strongest in the world when we’re together, when we are all as one,” Bennett said alongside other lawmakers from his Yamina party.

TIMES OF ISRAEL

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