'I refuse to use government bodyguards'

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel demands guard who taped PM's son be prosecuted, refuses bodyguard protection until charges filed.

Tzvi Lev,

Shin Bet bodyguard
Shin Bet bodyguard

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) vowed to forswear the use of government-supplied bodyguards if the security guard who peddled Yair Netanyahu's drunken ramblings to Channel 2 is not prosecuted.

"I intend to wait until the end of this month to hear that an investigation has indeed been opened that will bring results," Ariel wrote to Prime Minister Netanyahu. "If it is not, I will not use government-supplied bodyguards".

Under rules drafted by the Defense Ministry after Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi was killed in a 2001 terror attack, all government ministers must be provided bodyguards, while Knesset members are guarded on a case by case basis.

Yair Netanyahu's drunken remarks demeaning women were recorded by his bodyguard back in 2015, who then reportedly sold the recording to Channel 2 for NIS 50,000 ($14,000). The revelation that Netanyahu was undermined by the person responsible for his protection caused consternation among Israeli politicians, who worried that they too, were at risk.

"We can’t be hostages," Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud) said. "We are being threatened, and they are even trying to profit from selling things to the media. We can’t become punching bags to be attacked at any given moment".

A former bodyguard from the Shin Bet's Personal Security Unit, which guards Israel's prime minister, president, and the head of the opposition, warned that it would be a "catastrophe" should politicians stop trusting their security detail. "You cannot guard those who think that you're out to get them," he told Arutz Sheva and called on Defense Department, which protects Yair Netanyahu, to take action.

In 2007, the Shin Bet had fiercely opposed then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz after he ordered former President Moshe Katzav's security detail to testify against him in court over rape allegations, contending that it would cause a breach of trust between bodyguards and those they were tasked with protecting.