Netanyahu spars with former Shin Bet head over security for sons

The grown children of Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon did not get the same level of security when their fathers were prime ministers.

January 5, 2018 05:55
1 minute read.
The Netanyahu family

Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu with family, Sara Avner (left) and Yair. . (photo credit: AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)


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Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yoram Cohen and the Prime Minister’s Office disagreed publicly on Thursday on whether the Shin Bet had previously recommended that full-time security be provided for Netanyahu’s two sons who live with him in the Prime Minister’s Residence.

During an interview on Army Radio, Cohen was asked to weigh in on the ongoing debate on whether the state should pay for security for Netanyahu’s sons, Avner, 23, and Yair, 26.

The grown children of Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon did not get the same level of security when their fathers were prime ministers.

“If I remember it correctly, during my tenure, our opinion was that there was no real need to provide them with a permanent security detail, but it was rejected. There were quite a few decisions in which my recommendations weren’t accepted,” Cohen said.

The Prime Minister’s Office disputed this account, issuing a statement saying that after Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Cohen said there was a need to tighten the security arrangements for the prime minister’s sons. According to the PMO, Cohen even asked Netanyahu to consider moving Yair from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to another school because of security considerations.

To prove the threats were real, the PMO pointed out that websites connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards posted pictures showing Netanyahu’s sons in the crosshairs of a rifle.

The public committee that recommends which officials get what degree of security – and whose recommendations need to be approved by a ministerial committee – has reportedly determined that as long as the prime minister’s sons live in the official residence, they will have a full security detail, including a driver, and security when they travel abroad.

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