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Netanyahu condemns woman who allegedly sent PM and family menacing letters, bullets

Opposition leader says political activist Ilana Sporta Hania, 65 of Ashkelon, will be expelled from Likud if claims proven true

Ilana Sporta Hania, a 65-year-old resident of Ashkelon, suspected of sending envelopes containing bullets to the family of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, arrives for a hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on May 12, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Ilana Sporta Hania, a 65-year-old resident of Ashkelon, suspected of sending envelopes containing bullets to the family of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, arrives for a hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on May 12, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu condemned on Friday threats made by right-wing political activist Ilana Sporta Hania against Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his family.

Posting on his channel on the Telegram app, Netanyahu spoke out against “all types of violence against the prime minister or any other person,” and added that if it is proven that Hania is guilty, she would be expelled from Likud.

Hania, 65, of Ashkelon, was arrested Monday on suspicion that she sent two letters to Bennett’s wife and son containing bullets, threatening their safety if the prime minister did not resign. Her identity was revealed on Thursday after a court lifted a gag order.

Details emerged on Thursday of Hania’s history of activism in support of Likud and against the current government. She has been investigated in the past for threatening politicians with whom she disagrees. In September, Hania was filmed calling on New Hope MK Bennie Begin — a former Likud member — to drown himself in the ocean.

Upon her arrest, police said Hania was suspected of extortion by threats, carrying or transporting weapons, threatening to commit an act of terrorism and conspiracy to commit a crime. Ordering that she remain in custody, Judge Erez Melamed said the investigative material demonstrated “a reasonable suspicion of the crime of making threats.”

Hania claimed during a court hearing this week that she was coerced into confessing to the crimes by an investigating officer who threatened that if she didn’t do so her husband and children would be arrested. Police rejected her claim.

“Why do you perform interrogation exercises on an old woman and threaten the arrest of her father and daughter?” asked Adi Carmeli, Hania’s lawyer, according to Channel 12. “At what point does my client say ‘What do you want me to admit? Just leave me alone,'” he added.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with his family, in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 13, 2021. (Ariel Zandberg/Yamina)

The first threatening letter, sent last month, was addressed to Bennett and his wife, Gilat, and was delivered, with a bullet, to a building adjacent to the family home, where Gilat’s office is located. Two days later, a letter addressed to Bennett’s 15-year-old son, Yoni, also with a bullet, was sent to the family home in Ra’anana.

In a Facebook post at the time, Bennett urged “everybody, from across the political spectrum, and especially people who are active on social media,” to “lower the flames of political discourse.”

Police have investigated several threats against the prime minister in the past, usually made over social media.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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