Sara Netanyahu: My hair salon standoff could have ended in murder
‘The time has come to stop the anarchy,’ premier’s wife says after protesters surrounded Tel Aviv storefront with her inside; demonstrators accuse PM of ‘sending his wife to lie’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife on Thursday railed at protesters who demonstrated outside a Tel Aviv salon where she was getting her hair done a day earlier, with police called to the scene for several hours until she was extricated.
The incident came during protests Wednesday evening in Tel Aviv and other cities, following nationwide rallies held by protesters against the government and its plans to curb the judiciary earlier in the day.
“The terrible incident that occurred yesterday could have ended in murder. The time has come to stop the anarchy,” Sara Netanyahu wrote on Instagram, while expressing thanks to her supporters.
“The time has come for opposition leaders to denounce the violence, anarchy and incitement,” she added, echoing the prime minister’s rhetoric about the demonstrations.
She also thanked security forces, specifically naming far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and 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.
שרה רעייתי האהובה, שמח שחזרת הביתה בשלום וללא פגע. האנרכיה חייבת להיפסק – זה יכול לעלות בחיי אדם. pic.twitter.com/79PSIXJWgR
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) March 1, 2023
Her Instagram post included a photo of the prime minister embracing her, which he tweeted out late Wednesday along with the caption, “The anarchy needs to stop — it could end up costing lives.”
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 said, insisting that Netanyahu was using the incident as a ploy to gain public sympathy while tarnishing the protesters.
Some protesters have contested the assertion that Netanyahu was ever in physical danger. Videos from the scene appeared to show protesters keeping their distance from the salon itself.
Protest organizers denounced Sara Netanyahu’s comments later Wednesday.
“Yesterday, 11 people were injured by violence at the order of the terrorist Ben Gvir,” they said in a statement quoted by Channel 12 news, which also noted dozens were arrested. “A prime minister inciting against his own citizens is unworthy, and sending his wife to lie to the Israeli public won’t cover the fact that he’s trying to carry out a regime coup.”
Opposition leaders who have backed the protests were nonetheless taken aback by demonstrators’ decision to surround Netanyahu at the hair salon. Both opposition leader Yair Lapid and senior opposition MK Benny Gantz called on protesters to let her leave.
As police arrived, protesters chanted, “Where were you in Huwara,” a reference to the fact that settlers were able to riot through the Palestinian town for long hours Sunday before police and the military staged a serious response.
“The country is burning and Sara is getting a haircut,” protesters chanted — a phrase that rhymes in Hebrew.
Others chanted, “May your hair ends burn,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to the far-right refrain to Arabs, “May your village burn down.”
Police were quickly deployed to keep the masses away, as the premier’s wife holed up inside. Eventually, large police forces arrived on the scene and evacuated Netanyahu.
המטורללים במצור על המספרה בה נמצאת שרה נתניהו.
מבין שב2023 אפשר לפגוע באשת ראש ממשלה. pic.twitter.com/pekvLhUhxJ
— Igal Malka – ???????????????????????? (@igal_malka) March 1, 2023
The incident occurred as Netanyahu gave a statement to the nation, comparing protesters who clashed with cops in Tel Aviv to settlers who rampaged through a Palestinian town earlier in the week. On Thursday, he tried to downplay the comparison.
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.