Dozens of people protested as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett paid a condolence call on Wednesday to the family of an Israeli officer killed by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank last week, gathering outside the family’s home and shouting insults at him.
Noam Raz, an officer in the Police Special Anti-Terror Unit, was shot and killed during an arrest operation near Jenin on Friday. Raz joined the Police Special Anti-Terror Unit in 1999 and served in a variety of roles, participating in hundreds of operations. He is survived by a wife and six children.
The demonstrators outside the Raz family’s home in the West Bank outpost of Kida shouted at Bennett that he was a “coward” who arrived “like a thief in the night,” and demanding that he not return.
Raz’s son rebuked Bennett during the visit, telling him: “I don’t know how you look at yourself in the mirror. I blame you as much as I blame the terrorist. You ruined your chance."
Following the visit, Bennett wrote on Twitter: "It is the absolute right of the relatives of a hero to tell me whatever is in their hearts, and my job is to hear and to listen."
Shortly after Bennett's visit, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu arrived and visited the family.
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Bennett has been the target of right-wing anger since he formed a government with parties across the political spectrum, including those who oppose the settlements in the West Bank, last year. Since then, opposition parties, chiefly Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, have attacked Bennett as a swindler and turncoat.
On Tuesday, Bennett visited the West Bank settlement of Elkana, his first visit to a settlement since he became prime minister. Dozens of area residents gathered to demonstrate against him waving signs labeling Bennett a traitor and conman.