Israel: Shin Bet says Ben-Gvir’s acts threatened ‘national security’

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MK Itamar Ben-Gvir protesting in Jerusalem, on March 29, 2022.
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90MK Itamar Ben-Gvir protesting in Jerusalem, on March 29, 2022.

'It is the Shin Bet’s duty to prevent escalation that may harm civilians, soldiers, and police officers'

Controversial right-wing MK Itamar Ben-Gvir threatened to damage Israel’s national security if he were to ascend Jerusalem's Temple Mount last week, the Israeli internal security agency said Friday.

The rare statement from the Shin Bet came after Ben-Gvir attacked the agency and its chief Ronen Bar for allegedly giving briefings against him, The Jerusalem Post (The Post) reported.

In its Friday statement, the Shin Bet did not mention Ben-Gvir directly, but clearly referred to the government’s decision to bar him from entering Jerusalem’s Old City via Damascus Gate as part of a nationalist march.

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“The Shin Bet is fully aware of the importance of freedom of movement, and that of [parliament] members in particular,” the statement read.

“But in this extremely unusual case, an assessment based on intelligence was given that predicted with near-certainty significant damage to national security.”

“It is the Shin Bet’s duty and mission to prevent… escalation that may harm civilians, soldiers, and police officers,” the statement continued, according to The Post.

At the recommendation of the Shin Bet, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett demanded that Ben-Gvir not visit Damascus Gate while Israeli police rejected plans for the march.

However, right-wing activists decided to move forward with it anyways.

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Ben-Gvir was vocal in criticizing the Shin Bet with accusations that it was investigating him rather than trying to curb tensions at the Temple Mount – a flashpoint for violence.

"When the Temple Mount is on fire and the terrorist attacks are intensifying, the Shin Bet must deal with state security and not with a briefing against me. Words can kill!" Ben-Gvir tweeted.

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