Israeli minister under 24/7 guard after threats from Jewish extremists

Omer Barlev said members of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party had made him ‘the enemy of all settlers’

Israel’s government minister for public security, Omer Barlev, said he was threatened by Jewish extremists. AP

Israel’s government minister for public security is under round-the-clock protection after coming under threats from Jewish extremists, he said on Monday.

Omer Barlev accused members of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s pro-settler Yemina party of contributing to the fraught atmosphere.

Mr Barlev sparked an uproar this month when he criticised a wave of violence by West Bank settlers against Palestinian civilians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Mr Barlev, who oversees the national police force, said US officials had raised concerns about the settler violence with him and that he had pledged to address the problem.

“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 Mr Barlev, and Mr 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, Mr Barlev said he was now under 24-hour protection. “I’m threatened by Israeli Jews,” he wrote.

At a weekly meeting of his Labour Party, Mr Barlev blamed fellow coalition members from Mr 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”.

Updated: December 27th 2021, 6:03 PM