A 65-year-old Likud activist from Ashkelon was arrested on Monday for sending threatening letters containing bullets to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's family.
The suspect was arrested amid an ongoing investigation by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Israel Police Lahav 433 national crime unit, which attributed the death threats to “political motives.”
The woman, who denied sending the death threats, is a supporter of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and has a notable presence on social media.
She has posted pictures of herself with several right-wing MKs, including renegade Yamina MK Amichai Chikli and Likud MK Amir Ohana, a former public security minister.
In a protest held outside a New Hope convention in Ashkelon last September, the woman was filmed calling for New Hope MK Bennie Begin, son of former Likud leader and prime minister Menachem Begin, to “jump into the sea and find your death there.”
Last month, the woman said on Twitter she “hopes the Shin Bet will stop Bennett as it stopped [former prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin,” implying that Rabin was assassinated by the security agency. She has often called the prime minister a “traitor” and a “murderer” on social media, and “only Bennett’s death will save Israel,” she said in a Facebook post.
A gag order was issued on the woman’s identity and other information about the investigation.
Two threatening letters in envelopes containing bullets were sent to the Bennett family home in Ra’anana over the past month. After the first letter was sent in late April, the Shin Bet decided to boost security for the prime minister's family.
Days later, a second letter was sent, targeting Bennett’s eldest son, Yoni. The working assumption of the investigation was that the same party was behind the two letters.
“Political conflict, no matter how profound, should not reach violence, bullying and death threats,” Bennett tweeted after the letters were made public. “We need to do everything, as leaders and as citizens whose future and the future of their children are in this country, so that such phenomena simply do not happen.”
סכסוך פוליטי, לא משנה כמה הוא עמוק, לא צריך להגיע לאלימות, לבריונות ולאיומי מוות. אנחנו צריכים לעשות הכל, כמנהיגים וכאזרחים שעתידם ועתיד ילדיהם במדינה הזאת, כדי שתופעות כאלה פשוט לא יתקיימו. כולנו אנשים. ויכוחים וחילוקי דעות - כן. בריונות ואיומים - לא. >>— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) April 26, 2022
Bennett’s son also condemned the incident on social media.
“It’s so sad that things like this happen because of incitement,” he said.
The authorities said the suspect would be brought before a court on Tuesday to extend her arrest.