Why is this photo different

Sara Netanyahu walks back photoshopped Seder pic amid ridicule

Critics pointed out the image showed overt digital enhancement of PM’s wife, who was standing next to soldiers and a picture of the hostages

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, center, celebrating the Passover seder with IDF soldiers whose families live abroad, in Jeruslaem, April 22, 2024. (GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, center, celebrating the Passover seder with IDF soldiers whose families live abroad, in Jeruslaem, April 22, 2024. (GPO)

Amid a storm of criticism, ridicule and accusations of digital face-lifting, Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, removed an image of herself and her husband on Wednesday, a day after it was posted to social media.

The image of the Netanyahus posing next to a Passover Seder table alongside a picture of Israeli hostages in Gaza drew scorn, with critics claiming there were major differences between it and another official photograph taken of the couple at the same event.

The Netanyahus held the Seder Monday night at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, where they hosted a crowd of so-called lone soldiers, service personnel whose families live abroad.

The prime minister’s official X account later published a photograph of the couple standing with the soldiers, while holding a photograph of the 133 hostages still held in Gaza by terror groups. Many Jewish people around the world included symbols of the hostages at their Seder tables this year, with some leaving an empty place at the table to show their yearning for the captives’ freedom.

Sara’s personal Instagram account on Tuesday published a close-up photograph of her with her husband at the event, in a similar pose as the first picture, holding the photograph of the hostages, but without the soldiers. However, social media users were quick to point out the stark differences between the two images of Sara, with the latter photograph showing her hair and makeup, and her overall youthfulness, noticeably enhanced.

Anti-government social activist Uri Breitman posted a collage of the two photos to X and remarked, “Sara Netanyahu, before and after.”

“Any attempt to distort the truth, lie to the public and invent a fabricated visual reality will be met with public disgust,” he added.

Journalist Uri Misgav also commented on the contrasting photos, posting to Facebook of his alarm at the phenomenon.

“This isn’t funny. It frightens me,” he wrote.

“On the right: The reality, from Benjamin’s Twitter. On the left: the world of Photoshop and retouching, from Sarah’s Instagram,” Misgav said. “Only a couple of disturbed people totally disconnected from reality are able to release such an image.”

Misgav also noted that the Netanyahus had “crammed 133 hostages into one chair and a picture.”

In a later post, he took a closer look at the prime minister’s face in Sara’s photograph, super-imposing parallel straight lines on the image to highlight the apparent asymmetry of the premier’s eyebrows.

“What’s going on here?” Misgav asked. “What are they hiding from us?”

הערה אחרונה ללילה העגום הזה. (הקוים הירוקים הם אופקיים).מה קורה פה?מה מסתירים מאיתנו?

Posted by Uri Misgav on Tuesday, April 23, 2024

By Wednesday, the eyebrow-raising photo of the Netanyahus was no longer included in the original post on Sara’s Instagram account.

There was also criticism from former IDF spokesman Brigadier General (Res.) Avi Benayahu, who noted that under military regulations, official photographs are not taken of soldiers on Shabbat or religious festivals.

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