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Netanyahu supporter named as woman who sent threatening letters to Bennett

Political activist Ilana Sporta Hania, 65 of Ashkelon, was arrested earlier this week for mailing letters containing bullets to members of the PM’s family

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)

The woman suspected of mailing menacing letters and bullets to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his family was named on Thursday as Ilana Sporta Hania, 65, of Ashkelon.

Hania, a fervent supporter of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was named following the court’s decision to lift a gag order on her identity. She was arrested on Monday and remanded into custody on Tuesday 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.

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 police custody, Judge Erez Melamed said the investigative material demonstrated “a reasonable suspicion of the crime of making threats.”

Police told the court that on social media Hania had in the past called the prime minister a “murderer,” a “traitor” and a “swindler.” On her Facebook page — where she has not posted since late Sunday night — Hania called Bennett and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar “traitors on steroids” and called on Bennett to be arrested, as well as said the government is illegitimate and that the state prosecution is a criminal organization.

She suggested that Foreign Minister Yair Lapid “logs more miles than a black box — but when will only the black box remain?” Hania also wrote that Public Security Minister Omer Barlev should “drink water from the Kishon,” the toxic river that sickened some IDF soldiers. She also uploaded a post claiming that Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli was wearing boots like those that “the Nazis wore in concentration camps.”

Hania’s profile image on Facebook and Instagram is a photo of her with Yamina MK Amichai Chikli, who refused to join the government coalition and remained in the opposition.

She 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.

Upon her arrest, police said that both letters contained “detailed murder threats” against the Bennetts and security officials believe whoever sent them had “gathered information” about the family.

The first threatening letter was addressed to Bennett and to 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.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks to the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem on May 11, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Both letters included a direct threat to Bennett, warning he must resign from office or his family would be “harmed.”

Bennett said at the time that political disputes shouldn’t devolve into “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 in a Facebook post.

He 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 a number of threats against the prime minister in the past, usually made over social media.

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