Opposition chief Lapid said trying to skirt Shin Bet agents tasked to guard him

Agency reportedly complains Yesh Atid head won’t share his schedule, forcing bodyguards to wait outside his home and tail him

MK Yair Lapid arrives at a rally of self-employed and kindergarten owners calling for financial support from the government outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, on April 19, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Yair Lapid arrives at a rally of self-employed and kindergarten owners calling for financial support from the government outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, on April 19, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yesh Atid-Telem leader Yair Lapid has been trying to evade the Shin Bet security detail provided to him in his role as opposition leader, Channel 12 news reported Wednesday.

According to the network, the Shin Bet has complained Lapid won’t provide the security service with his schedule or let the agency know where he intends to go and when, forcing bodyguards to wait outside his home and trail after him when he leaves.

Lapid reportedly asked the security service to stop providing him with guards, with his request sent to the ministerial committee for the Shin Bet, which is controlled by the Likud and Blue and White parties.

The report said that while ministers were initially inclined to grant his request, they decided to turn it down, concerned it could provide Lapid with further ammunition to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz over their state-funded security details.

Lapid’s office responded to the report, saying the matter of security was being inappropriately politicized.

“Shin Bet officers are wonderful people who protect all our lives. The only troubling thing in this story is the mixing of petty politics with matters of this type,” the statement read.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) at a cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall in the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 24, 2020. (Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP)

Earlier this month Gantz came under pressure over reports he would get a security motorcade similar to Netanyahu’s due to his role as alternate prime minister.

The new security arrangements will come at a cost of NIS 23 million ($6.6 million) per year, Channel 12 reported. Gantz’s office denied he was interested in or had asked for such security arrangements but the report said his role necessitated security treatment by the Shin Bet similar to that of the prime minister, and may not be entirely up to him.

At the time, a lawmaker in the Yesh Atid party, formerly allied with Gantz, criticized the arrangements, saying the defense minister was preoccupied with himself while a million people were unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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