Accusations Against Bennett 'A Load of Nonsense'

Following claim he is to blame for civilian deaths in Lebanon, Shin Bet has increased security around Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett.

Ido Ben Porat, Cynthia Blank,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett

The Israel Security Agency's (ISA or Shin Bet) Protective Security Department has placed additional security around Economy Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett. 

According to reports, in the last few hours, an extra guard has been attached to Bennett and is accompanying him on all ministerial events. 

The increased security comes as a result of media accusations that Bennett is to blame for the deaths of 102 civilians during Operation Grapes of Wrath in Lebanon, 18 years ago. 

In particular, Yedioth Aharonoth journalist Raviv Drucker has hinted that Bennett is responsible for an incident in which IDF soldiers accidentally fired at school in the Lebanese village Kafr Kana. 

On Sunday night, Drucker tweeted that "a senior military official, familiar with the Kafr Kana investigation in 1996, told me awhile ago: 'We heard the hysterical young officer Bennett on the network. His stress contributed, and not in a small way, to a terrible failure." 

Bennett responded to the "attack" by giving his version of the account. 

Supposedly, he said, “'I ignored orders because the echelon above me was not courageous enough' and 'I changed plans without coordinating with the echelon above me' – until we came upon a Hezbollah ambush and we required a rescue that led to the fire on Kafr Kana.”

After the events at Kafr Kana, then-Head of Northern Command, Major General Amiram Levine, “came especially to the unit's base at Julis in order to tell me: 'I am giving you all of the backing in the world. You went on a mission. You defended the northern communities. I am behind you.”

"If you want to attack me, go ahead,” Bennett concluded. “My shoulders are broad enough. I am a public figure, even a politician (what can you do?). I am responsible for my actions during my military service and so help me, I do not apologize for them.”

Bennett's deputy commander during Operation Grapes of Wrath also rejected the claims, calling them a "load of nonsense."

The man, identified as Gimmel, said Monday morning in a radio interview with Guy Zohar, that "when I hear these things, I wonder how much more the situation can deteriorate." 

I was very surprised by what Drucker said, who in my mind is usually a serious and deep researcher. The things that were written are absolute nonsense, a complete load of nonsense, which has no idea where it was collected from," the former deputy continued.  

"I don't agree with Naftali's politics, but it was important for me to speak out, as there is no reason his name should be sullied now because of upcoming elections." 

"I don't know know of any change of plans [during the Operation]," he testified. "I have no idea where they got this idea from."