Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday requesting that high-level protection of his family members be extended further, according to Hebrew media reports.
The protection of his wife and children are due to end next week, six months after he was voted out of office as prime minister, but Netanyahu requested an extension, citing threats against them, saying that local and foreign actors could still target them.
Netanyahu, himself, is entitled to protection for 20 years after leaving the Prime Minister’s Residence.
“Do not view the murder threats to the family of former prime minister Netanyahu as threats coming from delusional people,” Netanyahu’s chief of staff wrote in the letter, “since it is precisely from these people that the next murder may come.”
The letter also suggests that Iran or another enemy nation could attempt to harm his family.
“Due to the sensitive nature of the operations that Netanyahu authorized over the years against enemy states, there is an open ‘blood feud’ between them and him and his family,” the letter said.
“These things are also expressed in social media posts from Iran that have marked Netanyahu family members as targets for assassination,” the letter said.
During his time in office, several top-level Iranian nuclear scientists were associated along with senior operatives from the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups in killings that were attributed to Israel.
However, Channel 12 reported that it was unlikely that Netanyahu’s request would be granted and that the Shin Bet security service had not been asked to provide a fresh threat assessment.
There was no comment from the Shin Bet.
Netanyahu has been criticized in the past for his reluctance to give up the trappings of office despite being voted out after more than a decade in power.
It took Netanyahu more than a month, and the threat of a High Court intervention, to get him to move out of the Prime Minister’s Residence.
Nevertheless, there have been threats against him and his family.
However, most direct threats to Netanyahu’s family, particularly his wife Sara and son Yair, have come from home where they are deeply divisive figures.
This week a man was indicted for harassment over a tweet in which he graphically threatened to sexually assault Sara Netanyahu.
Boaz Drori, a 55-year-old resident of the central city of Givatayim, was charged at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court over the tweet he posted in 2019.
In the tweet, Drori, who had around 1,000 followers on Twitter, described a sexual act that he would perform because he was “so patriotic,” effectively threatening to rape the then-prime minister’s wife for the sake of the nation.
In August 2020, after Drori was first questioned, the then-prime minister wrote to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, accusing him of “scandalously” ignoring threats against him and his family, and claiming he was putting them at risk as a result.
Netanyahu wrote: “Zero action on your part in the face of calls to murder me and my family and rape threats against my wife amounts to nothing less than to scandalously allow the spilling of our blood.”
In a response, Mandelblit told the then-prime minister that there was no basis to the claim, while Netanyahu’s opponents said that the accusation was a “calculated” attack on the attorney-general due to his decision to indict Netanyahu over alleged corruption.
Netanyahu has made several complaints to police over threats to harm him and his family.
Meanwhile, a number of members of the current cabinet, as well as officials involved in Netanyahu’s ongoing graft trial, have extra security due to threats against them and their relatives.