Israel Remands Detention of Woman Charged With Sending Bennett Death Threats

An Israeli judge rules that Ilana Saporta-Hania will remain in custody until the end of her trial and that she constitutes a high risk

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Ilana Saporta-Hania at an Israeli court, in May.
Ilana Saporta-Hania at an Israeli court, in May.Credit: Hadas Parush
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

An Israeli court has ordered Ilana Saporta-Hania, the woman indicted for sending death threats to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his family, to be kept in custody until the end of legal proceedings against her.

Saporta-Hania, an avid supporter of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, was charged with extortion by making threats and the illegal possession of weapons.

In her ruling on Sunday, Kfar Sava Magistrate’s Court judge Dorit Saban Noy said that Saporta-Hania had been motivated by political ideology and that her inclusion of a live bullet inside her threatening letters demonstrated the high risk involved.

Saban Noy declined to send Saporta-Hania, 64, to house arrest, under the supervision of her husband and family in Ashkelon. The judge said she did not think that house arrest could reduce the level of danger demonstrated by the defendant, her lack of cooperation or willingness to examine her actions – as well as her views of the establishment and law enforcement officials. “For many months, Saporta-Hania has expressed her opposition and severe hostility towards the prime minister, has expressed herself in many posts on social media condemning the prime minister, including cursing, crude slander, accusations and death wishes,” said the judge.

Saporta-Hania was indicted in May and charged with sending letters containing death threats and bullets to Bennett, his wife and teenage son. 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 Ra’anana College where she works occasionally, and arrived on April 25. A 5.56-millimeter bullet was attached to the letter. “This is the bullet that will strike your soft underbelly, Naftali Bennett, and directly hit Yoni Bennett if you don’t resign,” the first of the letters read.

The second letter was addressed to their eldest son, 16-year-old Yoni, and arrived at their house on April 28. It also contained a similar bullet.

Police conducted an undercover investigation on Saporta-Hania before arresting her. The investigation found that she took advantage of other Netanyahu supporters, without their knowledge, in order to obtain Gilat Bennett’s workplace address.

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

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