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Police investigating death threats against far-right lawmaker Ben Gvir

Knesset member has received several messages with pictures of bullets and guns and threats to harm him and his family

Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir attends a flag parade near Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir attends a flag parade near Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Police on Sunday were investigating several death threats issued in recent days against far-right Knesset lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir.

Ben Gvir, of Religious Zionism’s extremist Otzma Yehudit faction, has shared several photos of threats he said he received on Facebook, in which individuals sent him pictures of bullets and guns while threatening to kill him and his family.

In one case last week, Ben Gvir shared a message from a young Arab man, a resident of Kafr Kana. Police have questioned the man and have managed to confirm his claim that his account had been hacked. They are now searching for the true culprits.

According to Ynet, the opposition lawmaker received six more threats over the weekend, and all have been transferred to the police.

One message warned him, “The price of leaving your home is the life of you and your family.”

Another vowed to “make you cry and scream for your family,” while a third said, “We will take the lives of you and your family,” attaching a photo of the lawmaker’s family at the beach.

In response, Ben Gvir said Sunday, “The threats against my and my family will not deter me from continued action,” while acknowledging that “it is not pleasant to get messages of threats and incitement every morning.”

Ben Gvir accused the Shin Bet security service of encouraging such threats by “making statements such as those attributed to the Shin Bet head.” He said coalition members were also culpable by “failing to condemn” previous threats.

On Friday the Shin Bet issued a rare public statement justifying its decision to recommend barring Ben Gvir from leading a nationalist march through Jerusalem’s Old City last month, saying his presence would have resulted in “significant harm” to Israel’s security.

The Shin Bet statement came hours after Ben Gvir unleashed a barrage of criticism at the agency, accusing its leader Ronen Bar of focusing on restricting his movement rather than fighting terror.

Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana condemned the death threats against Ben Gvir.

“I take the threats to the life of MK Itamar Ben Gvir very seriously. There is no room for violence in the public discourse. I hope that the security forces will soon nab these criminals,” Kahana said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a meeting with Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar (R), his military secretary Avi Gil and other security officials, on April 2, 2022. (Shin Bet)

Amid the superheated political atmosphere, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his family this week received two separate letters containing death threats and a bullet.

Channel 12 reported that both letters included a direct threat to Bennett that he must resign from office or his family would be “harmed.”

The second letter, received Thursday, was addressed to Bennett’s 15-year-old son Yoni, and was sent to Bennett’s home in Ra’anana.

Bennett has not commented on the threats publicly. However, Channel 12 reported Friday that Bennett had privately blamed politicians on the right who have accused his government of betraying the country for the letters.

Channel 13 news reported that people close to Bennett have expressed fears recently that the threats are not empty talk and a politician could be assassinated in the near future.

Among those under threat are Bennett, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked or other Yamina MKs, and the Shin Bet’s Bar.

Hebrew media highlighted dozens of social media posts that had Bar dressed in Nazi uniform and another site that posted pictures of government politicians with Hitler mustaches.

The posts are reminiscent of right-wing posters that were seen prior to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in which he was pictured in a Nazi SS uniform or wearing a Palestinian headdress.

On Thursday, IDF Military Police arrested a soldier suspected of publishing several social media posts threatening Bennett, Kan news reported. The incident is under investigation.

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