Israeli minister gets 24/7 guard, blames Jewish extremists
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s government minister for public security on Monday said he is now under round-the-clock protection after coming under threats from Jewish extremists.
Omer Barlev also accused members of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s pro-settler Yemina party of contributing to the fraught atmosphere.
Barlev sparked an uproar earlier this month when he criticized a wave of violence by West Bank settlers against Palestinian civilians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Barlev, who oversees the national police force, said U.S. officials had raised concerns about the settler violence with him and that he pledged to address the issue.
“I will continue to fight Palestinian terrorism as if there is no extremist settler violence — and extremist settler violence as if there is no Palestinian terrorism,” he said at the time.
Right-wing politicians, including members of the coalition government, lashed out at Barlev, and Bennett played down the violence as the acts of a “marginal” few. Opposition politicians have gone further, saying his comments have invited Palestinian violence.
In a Twitter post on Monday, Barlev said he was now under 24-hour protection. “I’m threatened by Israeli Jews,” he wrote.
At a weekly meeting of his Labor Party, Barlev blamed fellow coalition members from Bennett’s Yamina party for “turning me into the enemy of all settlers, and one who doesn’t understand security and terrorism by Palestinians against Israeli citizens.”