Security officials increasingly believe that it was two different people who sent threatening letters, each containing a bullet, to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s family in the past week, according to a Saturday report.
Even though the threats to the premier’s family were similar, and came just two days apart, security officials are not sure the individuals responsible are connected, Channel 12 said.
Investigators have not yet identified any suspects, the unsourced report said. Most of the details of the ongoing investigation are barred from publication.
Initially, officials believed both letters were sent by the same person or group, Channel 12 said. They reportedly used similar language and included live bullets of the same type.
The Kan public broadcaster had said the second letter was believed to be sent by a “copycat,” however.
Police said both letters contained “detailed murder threats” toward the Bennett family and security officials believe whoever sent them had “gathered information” about the family.
On Tuesday, a threatening letter addressed to Bennett and to his wife Gilat was delivered, with a bullet, to a building adjacent to the family home, where Gilat’s office is located.
On Thursday, a letter addressed to Bennett’s 15-year-old son, Yoni, was sent to the family home in Ra’anana. Renovation work is taking place at the official Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.
Both letters included a direct threat to Bennett warning he must resign from office or his family would be “harmed.”
While Bennett’s family does not currently face immediate danger, according to police, security officials have indicated that they are taking the threats seriously.
After the receipt of Tuesday’s letter, security officials in the Prime Minister’s Office immediately decided to reinforce the unit responsible for protecting Bennett’s family, while the Lahav 433 serious crimes unit and the Shin Bet security agency said they were launching a joint investigation into the incident.
Bennett hinted on Tuesday that the motive behind the letter was political, saying on Twitter that such disputes shouldn’t descend 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,” Bennett wrote.
He urged “everybody, from across the political spectrum, and especially people who are active on social media” to “lower the flames of political discourse.”
Bennett’s coalition partners, including Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, denounced the threatening letters.
Lapid said, after the first letter arrived, that it showed “where hatred can lead.”
Gantz said the threats constituted “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 former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by a right-wing extremist in 1995.
Police have investigated a number of threats against the prime minister in the past, usually made over social media.