Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu's wife and children will no longer have security details starting on Monday, after a government committee decided on Sunday to let their security expire, six months after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took office and Netanyahu became opposition leader.
The ministerial committee that regulates the activity of the Shin Bet, headed by Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana, said the decision to let the security expire was in line with opinions by all security officials who spoke with the committee.
Netanyahu slammed the "political decision," which he dubbed as "outrageous, irresponsible and decided in advance." He maintained that there were "explicit threats to murder members of the Netanyahu family" and that decision ran contrary to the professional opinion of the body responsible for security of the former prime minister.
However, the same body, "Magen," which is part of the Prime Minister's Office, distanced itself from Netanyahu's claims.
"Magen is an operational body, not an intelligence unit, and as such it relies on the professional opinion of the Shin Bet, who recommended canceling the security of the opposition chairman's family," it said.
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Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said that "the decision is easy" when the Shin Bet, the Mossad and Israel Police all says there are no threats against Netanyahu's family. He added that he has faith in the institutions and "if there were such threats, they would be exposed and dealt with."
The Security and Emergency Department of the Prime Minister's Office, the body overlooking the "Shield" unit responsible for the prime minister's safety, responded to Netanyahu's claims saying it "an operational body, not an intelligence unit. And as such it relies on the professional opinion of the Shin Bet, who recommended canceling the security of the opposition chairman's family."
The Likud party, headed by Netanyahu, issued a statement denying a report that it would be funding security for his wife and sons.
On Friday, Netanyahu took to social media to publicly urge the government to extend the security, citing "many and enormous threats" against his family. In a video, he mentioned a post published on a Facebook page run by the Crime Minister organization that led protests against Netanyahu that noted the security detail would end.
He said marking the date in which the security will cease constitutes an explicit threat and that he plans on complaining to the police. He also said a letter had sent to his son, Yair Netanyahu, threatening to kill his family.
Under its previous makeup, the committee for Shin Bet affairs decided that Netanyahu’s family would receive security for a year after the end of his term as prime minister. However, the current committee shortened the period to six months. Netanyahu has claimed this move is “detached from reality” and called on the committee members to reinstate the original decision. “Don’t abandon the security of my wife and children,” he urged.
Netanyahu claimed in the video that Rechavam Ze’evi, a former government minister, had been murdered two days after his security detail was removed. In fact, Ze’evi had objected to the security detail, and after his assassination it was revealed that he had ditched Shin Bet officers who were tasked with guarding him.