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Israel ups security for US envoy after Iran deal death threats

Threatening letters sent to embassy and Ambassador Dan Shapiro’s home; Facebook post likens him to Jewish Nazi camp guards

US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, December 9, 2014. (Matty Stern/US Embassy)
US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, December 9, 2014. (Matty Stern/US Embassy)

Israeli police this week increased security at the US Embassy and the residence of US Ambassador Dan Shapiro after he received death threats criticizing US participation in last month’s Iran nuclear agreement.

Letters threatening Shapiro were sent to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv over the weekend, and three additional letters arrived on Wednesday, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

A threatening message was also posted anonymously on Shapiro’s Facebook page, complaining that the US had “abandoned Israel” and referring to the Jewish ambassador as a “kapo,” a term for concentration camp prisoners appointed by the Nazis to serve as guards.

Local police commander Yehuda Dahan decided to bring the inquiry to a special investigation team. No suspects have been apprehended, and the police declined to comment on the matter.

Shapiro said Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been ignoring appeals to begin talks on ramped-up security cooperation with the US, based on the assumption that Congress will approve the nuclear deal with Iran.

The US ambassador told Army Radio that current disagreements on the Iran nuclear agreement, which Israel strongly opposes, should not get in the way of planning for a future in the Middle East shaped by the agreement.

Shapiro said he had informed Netanyahu that Israel can begin professional talks with the US to look at ways of improving the security cooperation between the countries, particularly vis-a-vis threats from Iran.

He noted that aside from Iran’s nuclear program, there was much to work to be done on matters including finalizing a defense package for Israel for the coming decade, cutting off the supply of weapons to Hezbollah, and taking care of Israel’s missile defense needs.

“We will need to work together to deal with the threats from Iran,” Shapiro said. “We can begin to prepare for the day after.”

Stuart Winer contributed to this report.

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