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    28-Jul-2020

Israeli Security Service Tightens Protection Around Netanyahu

 

Asharq Al-Awsat

 

The Shin Bet security service is increasing its protection for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family in response to the growing protests outside his official residence and ongoing tensions between demonstrators, police and Netanyahu supporters.
 
 
Shin Bet sources revealed that a number of demonstrators are threatening to kill the prime minister. Other sources indicated that the Shin Bet is in compliance with the orders of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana who is worried of “left-wing violence that will end in bloodshed.”
 
 
They added that the multitude of demonstrations near the residence on Balfour Street and the Netanyahus’ family home in Caesarea have forced making certain changes to security measures. They also pointed out that the thousands of protesters are not screened or questioned, although there are security guards and barriers separating them from Netanyahu’s family.
 
 
Shin Bet officials refused to disclose whether there is any intelligence warning of an intent or attempt to target Netanyahu or his family, yet they are concerned about a security incident.
 
 
The Shin Bet move sparked criticism among the demonstrators, and one of the participating movements mocked their measures, saying protesters need the protection after several incidents from far-right supporters.
 
 
On Saturday night, one person sprayed pepper spray at anti-Netanyahu demonstrators, while others beat protesters, one of whom was stabbed in the neck.
 
 
On Monday, Haaretz newspaper published an editorial warning against the repeated assassination of demonstrators by the far-right, as was the case in 1983 when Emil Grunzweig, a leftist demonstrator was killed by a right-wing activist.
 
 
The article noted that demonstrators nationwide have said they were attacked on Saturday night, including with pepper spray, hurled bottles and fists, sometimes by several assailants.
 
 
The police arrested three suspects that night, and one said he did it because he was angry that they were “harming state symbols.
 
 
The newspaper accused the prime minister and those around him of worrying about false threats. It warned that such acts should not be viewed in isolation from the ongoing, systematic incitement by Netanyahu, noting that Ohana would do better to order the police to combat the genuine threats similar to Grunzweig’s case.
 
 
Meanwhile, Kan Bet channel revealed a recording where Ohana blamed the police and intelligence services for authorizing the "annoying" demonstrations in front of the Prime Minister's residence, wondering about the reason for the "leniency" with the protesters.
 
 
Ohana urged the police to toughen the measures used against protesters saying: “We cannot continue with this turmoil, we cannot continue with this anarchism.”
 
 
Jerusalem District Police Commander Major General Doron Yadid was heard in the audio recording as saying that some 160 individuals were fined for violating the coronavirus measures.
 
 
The recording drew sharp criticism from the left, as MP Moshe Yaaloun condemned the Minister’s pressure on the police to violate law by banning protests, warning that this means “the state has deviated from its proper course.”
 
 
Head of opposition Yair Lapid called for the removal of the government, however, Likud MP Avi Dichter defended Ohana, saying the police must deter and stop demonstrations, before they get out of control and cause casualties.
 
 

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