Jewish woman shot dead at West Bank crossing was taken in by Bennett when homeless

Livnat Green, who committed apparent ‘suicide by cop,’ had a troubled life, moving between welfare institutions and suffering from PTSD after her military service

Livnat Green gives an interview to Channel 13 news on November 5, 2020. (Screenshot: Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Livnat Green gives an interview to Channel 13 news on November 5, 2020. (Screenshot: Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A young Jewish Israeli woman who was shot dead Tuesday at a West Bank checkpoint in an apparent case of “suicide by cop” was taken in by then-MK Naftali Bennett and his family a few years ago when she was homeless, following a troubled childhood that saw her move between many welfare institutions.

Livnat Green’s life story was published in the media almost three years ago after she posted online that she was being kicked out of a Beersheba welfare hostel on short notice, 18 months after ending her mandatory military service in the Border Police. She then moved into a tent outside the Welfare Ministry in November 2020.

Within a short time, she was contacted by future prime minister Bennett, who invited her to stay at his home, where she remained for a number of days.

“He woke me up and made me an omelet. It was important to him that I not be out on the street because it was cold and rainy. At first I was embarrassed, but later they made me feel that I had nothing to be ashamed of,” Green has said of her time at the Bennett household.

Bennett paid tribute to Green in on Wednesday and urged greater awareness of mental health issues.

“We hosted her warmly in our home, and she slept in our daughter Michal’s room and we heard her complex story,” Bennett tweeted, with a photo of Green alongside his family.

A selfie taken by Livnat Green with the Bennett family, undated (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

“What a smart girl. What a difficult and touching life story,” Bennett wrote. “After we found a housing solution for her, we also worked to help Livnat find a job in Beersheba and tried to help in other ways, so that she would get on track.

“Her death is very painful. Her soul must not have found peace,” he added. “We should all be aware of the difficulties of those with mental health challenges and help them as much as possible.”

From the Bennett household Green moved to an apartment for lone soldiers in Hadera for a period and tried to find residence in Beersheba, according to the Ynet news site.

According to the report, Green — who was born Sapir Cohen and decided at some point to change her name — had a troubled childhood and was a friend of Tikva Saban, a Beersheba woman who was told by a police officer to “go and kill yourself without telling us anything,” after she called to share her mental distress and asked to be hospitalized. Saban was found dead a month later, in February 2022.

Green said in past interviews that she was hospitalized for mental health issues and had tried to die by suicide on a number of occasions. She said she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder following her military service in the Border Police and found it difficult to hold down a job.

An unnamed source who had tried to help Green at the time told Ynet Wednesday: “There is no continuity for youth at risk. More than 90 percent with such a background do not enlist at all. The few who do are lone soldiers and what happens to them after their release is a catastrophe. No one is waiting for them. They are exploited for ratings and applause.”

In a leaked WhatsApp conversation published Tuesday night, Green asked a friend: “If someone wants to die, an ordinary Jew, an Israeli, wearing Arab clothes, runs with a fake airsoft gun toward a checkpoint in the territories, shouts ‘Allahu akbar’ because he wants to be shot because he wants to die, and then they only get shot in the legs and he stays alive, do you [put] them in prison for that? And if so, for how long and for what charge?”

The friend responded: “Is this person you?” To which Green said: “Maybe, we will never know,” adding a shrug emoji.

A selfie apparently taken by Green shortly before the incident showed her dressed up in a niqab and long black dress and brandishing the airsoft gun. Another photo she posted from inside a bus bore the caption: “So much relief and serenity, surprising!” alongside an emoji of a hijab-wearing woman.

A Jewish Israeli woman who was shot dead at a checkpoint in the West Bank after running at it with an airsoft gun, in an apparent ‘suicide by cop’ incident, on May 9, 2023. (Courtesy)

The friend notified police, who reportedly sent out warnings to various checkpoints across the West Bank and tried to pinpoint her location, though apparently not in time.

She arrived at the Metzadot Yehuda Crossing in the southern West Bank — dressed and veiled in black — pulled out an airsoft gun, and ran at the checkpoint while shouting “Allahu akbar” — “God is greatest” in Arabic. She was shot dead by security guards.

The troops and authorities initially believed it had been an attempted Palestinian attack, only later realizing the victim was Jewish.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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