Shabak chief asks politicians to lower the rhetoric as Likud fears for Netanyahu’s safety

Likud members have pointed out that the threats are far more blatant than those that preceded the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Nadav Argaman, the head of Shabak, Israel’s internal security service, said he’s doing all he can to protect the prime minister in response to a worried letter from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.

Shabak “is aware of things that have been written and said” against members of the government, “which carry with them an incitement to violence,” Argaman wrote in his response.

“Shabak carries out estimations of the situation all the time in order to gauge the threat and danger level to symbols of government that are under its protection, and establishes appropriate protection,” he wrote.

Argaman thanked Deri for the letter, saying the security service is “doing all in its power in order to carry out the mission placed on it by law to protect the prime minister.”

The Likud party has expressed worries that threats to Netanyahu are not being taken seriously enough. There have been clear calls against his life. Likud members have pointed out that the threats are far more blatant than those that preceded the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

On Sunday, in a letter to Argaman, Deri wrote: “As a former member of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s government, I cannot sit idly by vis-à-vis the alarming incitement and calls to physically harm Netanyahu and his family.”

“We can never again say we didn’t know; that our hands are not stained with blood… I’m aware of the fact you [Argaman] and the Shin Bet are making great efforts to protect the prime minister and his family, but I will be remiss in my public duty if I do not warn of what may come and do everything to ensure we spare no effort to prevent such a catastrophe,” Deri wrote.

Argaman also made a plea to politicians in his letter to lower their rhetoric. While responsibility for the prime minister’s safety rested on the Shabak, he wrote, “Also on the shoulders of those elected from across the political spectrum responsibility is placed.

“In a time of ideological controversy and of differences of political opinion, [they must] avoid fiery debate that’s likely to spread among certain groups or individuals as giving legitimacy to violent and illegal activities and which are liable, God forbid, to reach the point of threatening life.”