Bennett Family Receives Letter With Death Threat, Bullet; Police Investigating

Source says the letter was not sent directly to the family, but to Bennett's wife's former workplace, which warned the couple and passed the letter on to the Shin Bet

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, two weeks ago.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, two weeks ago.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

The Israeli police and Shin Bet security service have launched an investigation into a death threat made against Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his family, the police announced Tuesday.

A letter intended for Bennett and his family included a bullet, the brief police statement said.

Any further details concerning the investigation were placed under a gag order, and police have not released any details concerning the suspects.

A statement released by Bennett said that "After receiving a threatening letter that was intended for the prime minister and his family, security officials at the Prime Minister's Office have decided to increase the security detail protecting the prime minister's family."

According to a source who is aware of the details of the investigation, the letter was not sent to Bennett's Ra'anana home nor to the official Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem, but to the former workplace of Gilat Bennett, the prime minister's wife. They informed the family of the letter, which was passed on to the Shin Bet.

They added that the letter mentioned the couple's 16 year old son, Yoni, and said "We will get to you." The source added that the fact that the letter included a bullet made the investigating bodies attach greater importance to the threat, compared with other threats posed online.

“A political argument, no matter how deep it is, should not come to violence, thuggery and death threats,” Bennett said in a statement shared on his social media pages.

“We have to do everything, as leaders and as citizens who care about their future and the future of their children is in this country, so that such phenomena simply do not exist. We are all people,” he added.

Bennett also urged to “lower the flames of the political discourse” ahead of Israel's Independence Day and the Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism next week, particularly on social media.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who is also his colleague in the Yamina party, said in a tweet that it was "shocking," while Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrote that the threats are a "sad reminder" of what incitement could do.

One of Bennett's predecessors as prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated in 1995 by a religious nationalist extremist following a peace rally in Tel Aviv.

Defense Minster Benny Gantz joined the condemnations on Twitter, noting that "incitement and violence have led in the past to a political murder. One bullet in an envelope could soon turn to three bullets shot from a gun."

Far-right leader Bezalel Smotrich, a former ally of Bennett, said he "doesn't know" whether it was "an actual event," suggesting it may be "a spin meant to delegitimize the right."

According to a source familiar with the investigation, the police and Shin Bet are examining past threats and similar wordings in an attempt to locate suspects.

In November, a Kiryat Gat resident was sentenced to seven months' imprisonment after being indicted for threatening to kill Bennett in August. The sentence included five months in prison for threatening the prime minister, and another three months for prior threats against his family members.

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