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Right-wing activist indicted for sending death threats, bullets to Bennett family

Ilana Sporta Hania charged with extortion, illegal possession of firearm; prosecution says retired nurse remains a threat, files request she remains in custody until end of trial

Ilana Sporta Hania, a 65-year-old resident of Ashkelon, suspected of sending envelopes containing bullets to the Bennett family, seen as she arrives for a court hearing in Rishon Lezion, May 18, 2022. (Flash90)
Ilana Sporta Hania, a 65-year-old resident of Ashkelon, suspected of sending envelopes containing bullets to the Bennett family, seen as she arrives for a court hearing in Rishon Lezion, May 18, 2022. (Flash90)

Right-wing political activist Ilana Sporta Hania was indicted on Friday for sending threatening letters containing bullets to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his family.

She was charged with extortion and illegal possession of a firearm.

According to the indictment filed at the Petah Tikva Magistrates’ Court, Hania, a 65-year-old retired nurse from Ashkelon, sent two letters containing bullets addressed to Bennett, his wife and their teenage son, threatening their safety if the prime minister did not resign.

The first letter, received on April 25, read: “This is the bullet that will hit and neutralize your Gilat the crook, or you Naftali Bennett the crook. I advise you to resign.”

The letter was addressed to Bennett and 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 directly to Yoni Bennett, the couple’s 15-year-old son, also with a bullet, was sent to the family home in Ra’anana.

“This is the bullet that will hit your soft underbelly Naftali Bennett and directly hit Yoni Bennett if you do not resign,” warned the letter.

Threatening letter sent to the Bennett family in April 2022: ‘This is the bullet that will hit your soft underbelly Naftali Bennett and directly hit Yoni Bennett if you do not resign’ (Courtesy)

The indictment stated that both letters were prepared from April 3 to April 11 at Hania’s Ashkelon business.

Hania denied the charges.

The prosecution requested that she is held in custody until the end of the legal proceedings against her, saying she remained a threat.

“In light of the seriousness, nature of her actions and the political-ideological fervor for which they were carried out, there is a reasonable basis to fear that she will endanger the security of the public, the prime minister and those around him,” the prosecution’s request stated.

According to the investigation, Hania tried to enlist the help of other political activists — without their knowledge — mainly to obtain the workplace address of Gilat Bennett, the premier’s wife. Ultimately, police concluded that Hania alone was responsible for the threats.

While laboratories have matched Hania’s handwriting to the threatening letters, law enforcement officials still do not know where she got the bullets from.

Analysts found that Hania had previously sent a threatening letter to then-attorney general Avichai Mandelblit for his decision to press charges against Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister at the time.

A source in the investigation told the Kan public broadcaster that while Hania made mistakes, she also “took precautions that sophisticated criminals wouldn’t be ashamed of.”

Threatening letter sent to the Bennett family in April 2022: ‘This is the bullet that will hit and neutralize your Gilat, the crook, or you Naftali Bennett, the crook, I advise you to resign.’ (Courtesy)

Details emerged last week of Hania’s history of activism in support of Likud and Netanyahu, 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 Benny Begin — a former Likud member — to drown himself in the ocean.

Last week, 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, Hania called Bennett and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar “traitors on steroids” and called for Bennett to be arrested, as well as saying the government was illegitimate and that the state prosecution was a criminal organization.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, his wife Gilat and their four children at the Knesset on June 13, 2021. (Naftali Bennett/Instagram)

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 made IDF soldiers ill. She also uploaded a post saying that Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli was wearing boots like those that “the Nazis wore in concentration camps.”

Netanyahu has condemned the threats made by Hania. Posting on his channel on the Telegram app, the opposition leader spoke out against “all types of violence against the prime minister or any other person,” and added that if it is proven that Hania is guilty, she would be expelled from Likud.

Police have investigated several threats against the prime minister in the past, usually made over social media. In the wake of the letters, they reinforced security around the premier and his family.

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