Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettAmos Ben Gershom/GPO

A planned address by former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the University of Michigan had to be held online due to security fears surrounding opposition from anti-Israel protestors.

The event, titled “Division to Dialogue: Bridging Perspectives in the Middle East,” was organized by the Facts on the Ground at Michigan group, which was founded in November 2023 to combat disinformation on the war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.

The day before the event was to be held, Facts on the Ground announced that it would be held in a live-stream format due to security concerns.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that given recent safety concerns, our leadership team — in collaboration with the UM Administration and various security teams — must cancel the public, in-person component of our event. It is disheartening that rather than engage in dialogue and discourse, some on our campus elect to disrupt, threaten, and ultimately prevent those who seek to learn and engage,” the group stated.

The Michigan Daily student newspaper reported that the university and Bennett's security team decided to hold the event online rather than in person due to threats made on campus.

It was discovered that about 200 of the tickets for the event were purchased until antisemitic and threatening messages in place of names, including 'f- Israel,' 'Nazi Jews,' and 'kill Jews.'

Protesters gathered outside the building where the event was supposed to be held despite the cancelation of the in-person event.

During the live-stream, Bennett spoke with Dan Senor, the host of the Call Me Back podcast.

“When we’re internally weak they hit us,” Bennett said during the event. “How do we become weak? By division. How do we become strong? By unity. Not unity of opinions, but unity of action (and) unity of cause.”