Bennett Apologizes After Calling Wounded Soldier by Wrong Name

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs the weekly Cabinet meeting in Yerushalayim, on Sunday. (Gil Cohen-Magen/Pool via Reuters)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was forced to apologize on Monday after mixing up the name of a wounded Border Police officer with that of his father during a phone conversation with the parent.

Bennett had called to express his sympathies with the family of 21-year-old undercover Border Police officer Barel Hadaria Shmueli, who was shot by a Palestinian terrorist during a violent protest on the Gaza Strip border on Shabbos. He was seriously wounded and remains under intensive care at the Soroka Medical Center.

During the call, the father, Yossi, asked Bennett to come visit his son at the hospital. “We promise you, we will treat you well, we won’t carry out a pogrom against you like others have done against our troops,” he said. “Be a man, come visit him,” Shmueli said. At some point during the call, Bennett asked where “Yossi” was hospitalized, when in fact he meant Barel.

The father corrected him, and they continued to have a tense exchange.

The father complained that Bennett was being soft with Hamas, the terrorist organization ruling the Gaza Strip and the main driving force behind the violent protest on Shabbos. “What are you afraid of?” he lashed out at Bennett during the call.

Bennett’s correction stated that there was “a mix-up between the two names and that was a mistake.” Bennett further added, “I would like to express my sincere apology for this.’

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