A ministerial panel voted Sunday to transfer the job of securing the wife and children of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from a special police unit to the Shin Bet security agency.
The move comes four days after Sara Netanyahu hunkered down for several hours inside a Tel Aviv hair salon while hundreds of protesters massed outside.
Yair Netanyahu, 31, and Avner Netanyahu, 28, will also be protected by the Shin Bet moving forward. The move does not appear to apply to Netanyahu’s oldest daughter, Noa, who has limited contact with her father and is less known to the public.
Protesters against the government and its plans to curb the judiciary rallied and marched in Tel Aviv and other cities throughout the day Wednesday and resumed protesting at night in several places, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Nahariya, Pardes Hanna-Karkur and Zichron Ya’akov.
In Tel Aviv, which had seen rare clashes between protesters and police earlier in the day, demonstrators rushed to Kikar Hamedina Plaza upon hearing that Sara Netanyahu was getting a haircut at an establishment there.
“The country is burning and Sara is getting a haircut,” protesters chanted — a phrase that rhymes in Hebrew. Many noted that Netanyahu, already a divisive figure in Israeli politics, gets her hair done at the taxpayer’s expense and compared her to Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France.
The following day, she railed at protesters, saying that she feared for her life.
“The terrible incident that occurred yesterday could have ended in murder. The time has come to stop the anarchy,” she wrote on Instagram, while expressing thanks to her supporters.
She also thanked security forces, specifically naming far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, for their “personal concern.”
According to Channel 12 news, Sara Netanyahu placed a phone call while inside the salon to Ayala Ben Gvir, the wife of the national security minister, seeking help.
In a separate video released by her husband’s Likud party, Netanyahu said she had been told that former Meretz deputy minister Yair Golan had been among those outside the salon and had called on protesters to “finish the mission.”
“‘To finish the mission,’ means calling for my murder,” she claimed.
Golan vociferously denied the account as “spin.”
“I never said that!” he insisted, accusing Netanyahu of using the incident as a ploy to gain public sympathy while tarnishing the protesters.
Protesters contested the assertion that Netanyahu was in danger, citing videos from the scene that appeared to show that they had kept their distance from the salon itself.
Wednesday’s protests coincided with a meeting of the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee, which approved for its first reading in the Knesset plenum a government-backed bill to radically restrict the High Court of Justice’s ability to strike down legislation.
The bill is one of several controversial measures being pushed through the Knesset by the government, which most experts say will cause fundamental harm to Israel’s democratic system of governance by concentrating power with the ruling coalition and removing the court’s ability to act as a check. Supporters of the plan say it will fix a situation in which an unelected judiciary has undermined the will of elected politicians.