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Ra’am chief to get security detail; man arrested for wishing ‘lynching’ of minister

‘It’s a difficult feeling to be threatened,’ coalition’s Mansour Abbas says after Knesset orders guards assigned to him

Ra'am party leader Mansour Abbas attends a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on October 25, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ra'am party leader Mansour Abbas attends a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on October 25, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Knesset Guard on Tuesday ordered that Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas be provided a security detail due to threats against him for joining the governing coalition.

“It’s a difficult feeling to be threatened,” Abbas told Channel 12 news. “The Knesset Guard informed me that there is a need to assign security to me and I accepted the request, just as I accept the opinion of any professional source in the Knesset.”

The Knesset announcement came several days after sources close to Abbas told the network that he is concerned about incitement against him and fears an attempt on his life. According to the report, Abbas said he feared far-right Jews could try and kill him, citing recent protests where he was called a “terrorist.”

The appeal for added security was reportedly made by Ra’am members and not Abbas himself.

Abbas made history earlier in the year when he led his Islamist Ra’am into the coalition, which includes right-wing, centrist and left-wing parties. By doing so, Abbas ensured the small majority needed to oust Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party from power after more than a decade.

Several coalition lawmakers have received stepped-up security in recent months, most of them right-wing coalition lawmakers who have been accused of betrayal by teaming up with the left and an Arab party.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev at the scene of a shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, on November 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Also Tuesday, the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court extended the remand of a man arrested for allegedly making Facebook threats against Public Security Minister Omer Barlev.

The suspect, 27, wrote of Barlev that “I hope you get lynched, you traitor.”

The suspect’s lawyers called the arrest “unnecessary and harmful,” but the judge ordered him kept behind bars until Wednesday.

The arrest came as Barlev took flack from right-wing politicians for saying he discussed rising violence by West Bank settlers against Palestinians with a senior American diplomat. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tacitly joined those criticizing Barlev, whose ministry oversees police.

Barlev has doubled down, saying Tuesday that his critics were having difficulty “looking in the mirror,” and that settler violence was becoming an issue on the international stage, with foreign governments taking an interest.

“I will continue to fight Palestinian terrorism as if there is no extremist settler violence, and extremist settler violence as if there is no Palestinian terrorism,” he said.

Barlev’s initial remark and the subsequent pushback follow a noted rise in violent attacks by Israeli extremists against Palestinians compared to previous years. Last month, Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a high-level meeting with top representatives of the country’s security forces to discuss the increase, calling for the military to intervene before someone was killed.

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