Islamist Party Leader Abbas to Receive Knesset Security Detail After Threats

Earlier in December, Abbas was labelled as a 'terrorist' in a far-right protest against the participation of Arabs in Israel's government ■ Suspect accused of threatening Internal Security Minister gets detention extended

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Lawmaker Mansour Abbas in the Knesset, last month.
Lawmaker Mansour Abbas in the Knesset, last month.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

The Knesset officer agreed to a police recommendation to allocate United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas a security detail on Tuesday, amid growing threats against the deputy minister of Arab affairs.

In Israel's March election, Mansour Abbas UAL received four of the Knesset's 120 seats, making it in a unique position to secure a governing majority to each bloc. Subsequently, it was the first Arab party to ever join an Israeli governing coalition.

However, since taking the historic step, Abbas has faced increasingly violent threats. At a 1,500-strong rally against the participation of Arabs in the government in December, some of the protesters, including far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, dubbed Abbas a "terrorist."

The United Arab List leader took to Twitter to condemn the incitement, pointing to Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich and Ben-Gvir. "Blood libels and false accusations were the inheritance of Jew haters," he said.

Also Tuesday, the detention of a 27-year-old was extended by three days over threats he made against Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, who recently vowed to address settler violence.

The complaint was filed by a security officer from the Internal Security Ministry.

Bar-Lev provoked outrage on Monday after he told U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Jane Nuland that Israel views settler violence "severely" and that it is taking steps to tackle the phenomenon.

The suspect is accused of sending aggressive and threatening messages in response to Bar-Lev, including one reading "I wish they would lynch you, traitor."

The suspect has denied sending the messages, though he has confirmed that the user profile in question is his own.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also criticized Bar-Lev's statement, dubbing settler violence an "insignificant phenomena," and called to refrain from making generalizations about the whole community on Tuesday.

In November, Defense Minister Benny Gantz had also pledged to ramp up enforcement against the attacks, after Israel saw a 150 percent increase in cases from 2019 to 2021.

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