Police to Charge Netanyahu Supporter Suspected of Sending Death Threats to Bennett

Police say examination found the handwriting on the threatening letters to fully match the suspect's, who denies all charges, leaving 'no doubt as to her involvement'

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Ilana Sporta Hania at the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court, last week.
Ilana Sporta Hania at the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court, last week.Credit: Hadas Parush
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

A supporter of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is set to be charged Friday with threatening and extorting Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his family.

Ilana Sporta Hania, 65, an avid Netanyahu advocate, is suspected of sending death threats with live bullets to Bennett last week.

The State Prosecutor’s Office submitted a declaration to the court on Wednesday stating it planned on charging Sporta Hania with extortion through threats, and possibly for threatening to carry out an act of terrorism. Sporta Hania denies sending the letters and all charges against her.

The main piece of evidence tying Sporta Hania to the threatening letters, police say, is a lab examination that found the handwriting on the envelopes of the two letters fully matches Sporta Hania's.

In addition, investigators discovered she has sent similar letters in the past to other public figures, including Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, police said.

The two letters were sent one after the other on Passover from a post office in Ashkelon. The first was addressed to Bennett's wife Gilat at her former workplace, and arrived on April 25. The second letter was addressed to their eldest son, 16-year-old Yoni, and arrived on April 28.

The letter sent to Yoni Bennett: "This is the bullet that will strike your soft underbelly, Naftali Bennett, and directly hit Yoni Bennett if you don't resign."

"This is the bullet that will strike your soft underbelly, Naftali Bennett, and directly hit Yoni Bennett if you don't resign," one of the letters read.

The police conducted an undercover investigation on Sporta Hania before arresting her. The investigation found that she had made use of other Netanyahu supporters, without their knowledge, in order to obtain Gilat Bennett's former workplace address for the purpose of sending the threatening letter.

The police were unable to find the source of the bullets. “The suspect was cunning, and tried to cover up her actions in a way that would not embarrass even the most sophisticated criminals, but not with great success,” said a police official. "There is no doubt as to her involvement in the incidents," they added.

Sporta Hania retired from her position as a nurse five years ago, and is known as an activist on behalf of Netanyahu.

Her husband, Shmuel Sporta, was also arrested and questioned last week on suspicion of supplying his wife with the bullets found in the letters. This was later ruled out; it is now believed that Sporta Hania operated without the knowledge of others, according to police.

Sporta Hania has often referred to Bennett as a "murderer," "swindler," and "traitor," on social media, and has been investigated in the past over one of these posts.

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