The Shin Bet and Prime Minister's Office have decided to provide Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman with private bodyguards following death threats from the Mea Shearim haredi extremist group known as the Sicarii.
Deputy Minister Litzman gets bodyguards
Shin Bet tightens security around deputy health minister following death threats made against him by extreme ultra-Orthodox faction
Ari Galahar • Ynet
The Shin Bet and Prime Minister's Office have decided to provide Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman with private bodyguards following death threats.
Sources close to Litzman say the threats came from within the ultra-Orthodox world.
"The threats were made by the Sicarii, a group known to the haredi public as problematic and violent people," one of the deputy minister's associates explains. "The group members are threatening to hurt Litzman, apparently because he represents the Ger Hasidic dynasty in the Knesset."
A conflict erupted several months ago between the Hasidic dynasty and the Sicarii and several residents of Mea Shearim over the ownership of real estate worth tens of millions of shekels in the Jerusalem neighborhood.
The struggle focuses on the Kolel Polin association, which controls many assets in the neighborhoods.
The parties have been fighting for every vacant apartment, and anonymous assailants have even set fire to one of the flats while people were still in it. In other incidents, people were expelled from within the houses.
Another source of tension between Litzman and the Sicarii is the "Or Hachaim" bookstore, which has suffered many acts of vandalism over the past few months.
The group members suspect Litzman is secretly supporting the bookstore owner and urging him not to give in to the extremists' pressures.
Litzman is not the first person to receive tight security following Sicarii threats. Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch has also been subject to quite a few threats from the group members.
Litzman's office confirmed the report, stating that the Shin Bet and Prime Minister's Office were responsible for the deputy minister's security.
Note: Litzman is really Israel's Health Minister. But he carries the title of Deputy Health Minister in order to avoid voting on war-related cabinet decisions.