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Yamina MK requests additional security after threats, says she was followed

Idit Silman tells fellow party lawmakers that protesters are following her after she said she’d vote in favor of new government; said unable to send kids to school, youth movements

Yamina MK Idit Silman arrives for a meeting with Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett and fellow Yamina MKs, at Bennett's home in Ra'anana, on June 4, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Yamina MK Idit Silman arrives for a meeting with Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett and fellow Yamina MKs, at Bennett's home in Ra'anana, on June 4, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Yamina MK Idit Silman has requested protection from the Knesset Guard amid threats against her from those who oppose the party’s role in the potential incoming “change government,” Hebrew-language media reported Sunday.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, Silman sent a voice message to the Yamina WhatsApp group while driving recently, claiming that she was being followed.

“I don’t really feel good, there’s a car that’s chasing me on the street,” she told the group. “I’d like to know what you think I can do. They followed me out of the house and are following me everywhere I go.”

According to the report, Silman has decided she cannot currently send her children to their educational institutions. Army Radio additionally said that her children had been “banned” from attending their youth movements.

MK Betzalel Smotrich and right-wing demonstrators at a protest against the unity government outside the home of Yamina parliament member Ayelet Shaked in Tel Aviv on June 3, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

On Saturday night, activists protested against the potential government outside the lawmaker’s home in the central city of Rehovot, shouting: “You stole the votes of the right!”

Silman declared on Friday that, after consideration, she would vote in favor of the coalition when it comes up for a vote, unlike fellow Yamina MK Amichai Chikli who has said that he will not support the potential government.

Supporters of the incoming government have faced intense protests and threats over the past week. A Knesset vote on the coalition is slated to be held on June 9 or June 14. Heavy pressure on a range of lawmakers who have indicated their support for the coalition is expected to continue until then.

Naftali Bennett, right, and Ayelet Shaked seen in the Knesset plenum during voting for the president in Jerusalem on June 2, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Nir Orbach, a Yamina MK who has been seen as a key swing vote on the coalition, has also been the target of protests outside his home in Petah Tikva.

Meanwhile, Shin Bet leader Nadav Argaman issued a rare warning Saturday night that the ongoing incitement could lead to political violence.

“This discourse may be interpreted among certain groups or individuals as one that allows violent and illegal activity and could even lead to harm to individuals,” he said.

At the same time, a range of prominent national religious rabbis spoke out against the nascent government, and urged their followers to “do everything” to oppose it.

Rabbi Chaim Druckman attends the campaign launch of the right-wing Yamina party, ahead of the Israeli general elections, February 12, 2020.(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

“We cannot accept a situation in which a government is formed in Israel that will harm the most fundamental matters of religion and state that have been accepted from the establishment of the State of Israel until today by all Israeli governments,” read the letter, signed by well-known national religious leaders Rabbi Chaim Druckman, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, among others. “We must try and do everything so that this government is not formed.”

In a follow-up statement on Saturday night, Druckman denied the rabbis’ public call could be interpreted as incitement and said he opposes all forms of violence.

Silman is not the first lawmaker to request or receive extra security amid increased threats.

Yamina leader Naftali Bennett received increased security last week after he was targeted by death threats, as was Ayelet Shaked, the party’s No. 2, following threats and protests.

MK Tamar Zandberg speaks during a press conference of the Meretz party ahead of the upcoming elections, in Tel Aviv, January 4, 2021 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, who is slated to become environment minister in the next government, fled her home last week after threats against her and her baby daughter. Uri Zaki, Zandberg’s partner, blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the incitement after he targeted her in a speech he made last week slamming the new coalition.

“He mentioned her and the next day they were looking for something under the rug to target the incitement, and sent their stray dogs,” Zaki said. “These are terrible people and there is nothing they will not do to stay in power… even inciting against my baby.”

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