Netanyahu's family to lose bodyguards, chauffeur, car

After a briefing by representatives of the Shin-Bet, Mossad, police and National Security Council, it was decided that the Netanyahu family will no longer receive security protection.

 Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the faction meeting on Monday (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the faction meeting on Monday
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Ministerial Committee for the Shin Bet decided to end security protection provided to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s family on Monday, the sixth-month anniversary of his leaving office.

The ministers were briefed on Sunday morning by representatives of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Mossad, police and National Security Council in the meeting, which lasted only half an hour.

“None of them saw a reason to extend the protection,” said a source present at the meeting.

The decision means that Sara Netanyahu and her sons, Yair and Avner, will no longer receive a car and driver funded by the state. When his father was prime minister, Yair infamously used his chauffeur to drive him and his friends to a strip club in Tel Aviv. The driver recorded his conversations and leaked them to the media.

The former prime minister himself was not part of the decision and will continue to be protected for 20 years, as will his family home. Removing the benefits from his family will save taxpayers NIS 300,000 a month.

 OPPOSITION LEADER Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset last week. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) OPPOSITION LEADER Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset last week. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Sources close to Netanyahu called the decision “political, scandalous and irresponsible,” and warned that it would permit harm to be done to the former prime minister’s wife and sons. The sources said the Shin Bet department responsible for protecting Sara Netanyahu and her sons wanted them to continue to be protected. The department denied that claim.

“Anyone with eyes sees the intensity of the incitement and threats on social media,” said a source close to Netanyahu. “The hatred for Netanyahu has made people ready to endanger his wife and kids. It is unbelievable. An unprecedented scandal. The writing is on the wall.”

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev, who is on the ministerial committee, said the decision was easy because all the security authorities agreed.

“I trust the Shin Bet and the police that if there will be a threat, it will be dealt with,” said Bar Lev.

Yair Netanyahu responded to Bar Lev on Twitter that when he complained of a threat to harm him, it was not dealt with properly.

The prime minister’s son also posted tweets accusing Shin Bet head Ronen Bar of being left wing because he opposed allowing the Palestinian Authority to collapse and because he graduated from Harvard University’s Wexner Israel Fellowship.

Likud MK Shlomo Karhi said the danger to the Netanyahu family from left-wing anarchists was substantial, and “if something happens to them, God forbid, the blood will be on the hands of the ministers.”

Channel 13 reported on Sunday night that the Netanyahu family was requesting that a second home be secured by the state. Currently, their home in Caesarea is protected. According to the report, they asked for the same to be done for a home they own in Jerusalem on Aza Street.

In an effort to preempt the decision about removing the bodyguards of his family, Netanyahu filed a police complaint against a political activist group for what he said was incitement to violence against them. He posted a video to Twitter on Friday in which he detailed recent threats against him, Sara and Yair.

Netanyahu highlighted a social media post from the anti-Netanyahu Crime Minister organization that read: “On Monday, as was agreed a long time ago, the security detail will be lifted and the cars will be seized from Sara Netanyahu and her two sons. Expect surprises?”

He also revealed a letter reaching his office in the past few days that read: ”Despicable Yair. We are four Israelis abroad. We will come back to the country soon to kill you and your garbage father.” The letter also went on to call Sara Netanyahu a prostitute.

“You will die soon,” it ended.

Netanyahu highlighted a social media post from the anti-Netanyahu Crime Minister organization that read: “On Monday, as was agreed a long time ago, the security detail will be lifted and the cars will be seized from Sara Netanyahu and her two sons. Expect surprises?”

He also revealed a letter reaching his office in the past few days that read: ”Despicable Yair. We are four Israelis abroad. We will come back to the country soon to kill you and your garbage father.” The letter also went on to call Sara Netanyahu a prostitute.

“You will die soon,” it ended.

Netanyahu also showed a clip of a far-left activist addressing Yair Netanyahu during a protest saying one day he will be without a security detail, adding: “Poof, who knows [what can happen]?”

“It’s important to remember that [tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi] was murdered only two days after his security detail was lifted,” Netanyahu said. “The writing is on the wall, we’re talking about human lives. What more needs to happen?”

He ended by calling on the Security Committee to disregard their political and personal considerations and keep the security detail on Netanyahu’s family.

“Don’t forsake the safety of my wife and children,” he said.

In response, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that “while the people of Israel are being shown the insane waste of public funds on the needless security detail for the Netanyahu family, the bored leader of the opposition is inciting against those who are demanding to put a stop to the insanity.”