An explicit death threat received in shadow of the settlement freeze. Defense Minister Ehud Barak's office received a letter threatening the life of the minister and his family, in which the author promises to murder the leader should he destroy the settlements in the West Bank. The letter was passed on to the Shin Bet for investigation.
Barak's office refused Tuesday to address the security issues. However, security sources confirmed that a number of anonymous letters, some of which included threats, have been received by the minister's office. Each of these letters has been passed on to the Shin Bet.
According to a report on Channel 10, the letter included the following text: "Mr. Ehud Barak, if you think of destroying the settlement in Judea and Samaria, you are mistaken. I will murder you beforehand, and if I don't succeed – then after you finish being a minister when you won't have bodyguards."
The threats continued: "Beware. I will hurt you or your children or all which you hold dear."
Increased security following freeze
Following the cabinet's decision to implement a temporary building moratorium on West Bank settlements and the subsequent clashes that broke out, the Shin Bet decided to increase security surrounding the defense minister. At this stage, security officials said there is not enough information to determine whether the letter constitutes a serious threat, or if it is one of the letters regularly received by Barak's office as to the offices of other Israeli figures.
The said letter joins another threat recently directed at Police Chief Dudi Cohen. One of the possible conjectures was that extreme rightist elements were behind the threat to Cohen because of the officer's statements on the need to enforce the law in the West Bank on the heels of the settlement building moratorium. Another theory is that elements from the crime world are responsible for the letter.
"You have been marked for the world to come. Your judgment day is near," wrote an anonymous person to the police chief. The author has yet to be apprehended.
Upon receipt of the threat letter to the police chief, a joint police and Shin Bet investigation was launched, and security around Cohen was beefed up.
Following these threats, security officials said to Ynet that the police chief must change his daily routine, but that there is no specific cause for concern.
"In this case, an intelligence and security plan must be put in place," said a former senior-ranking Shin Bet official. "Regarding the letter, it must be checked whether fingerprints can be identified and to carry out the regular steps."
Roni Sofer contributed to this report