Netanyahu denounces protesters after his wife’s salon was besieged

JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies on Thursday denounced protesters as “anarchists” after they gathered outside a salon in Tel Aviv where his wife was having her hair done – a chaotic end to a day of demonstrations against the government’s plan to overtake the judiciary.

Sara Netanyahu has long been a polarizing figure in Israel, and the incident late Wednesday in a posh Tel Aviv neighborhood reflected Israel’s emotionally charged divisions over the overhaul, which opponents see as an existential threat to the country. Protesters outside the salon chanted “shame, shame” – but made no attempt to force their way inside. Hundreds of police officers were dispatched to the scene and eventually escorted them to a limousine.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu and his political partners showed no signs of slowing down the push to pass a series of bills to overhaul the Israeli judiciary. These moves have further heated up an already deeply divided country, sparking the largest protests in over a decade.

Protest organizers planned more demonstrations for Thursday, a day after their self-proclaimed “Day of Disruption” turned violent when police cracked down on participants at a rally in Tel Aviv.

Thursday’s demonstrations in Jerusalem are expected to include speeches by former government ministers and senior security officials. Former top economists, including two former Bank of Israel chiefs and a Nobel laureate, are scheduled to speak at a conference in Tel Aviv about the economic implications of the restructuring.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin, one of the architects of the judiciary overhaul, said Wednesday night that Netanyahu’s government “will not stop the legislation” despite mounting public outcry.

The proposed bills would give politicians and parliament control over the appointment of judges, the power to overrule the Supreme Court and the ability to pass laws that are not amenable to judicial review.

Critics of the plan include a growing number of former military officials, academics, economists and business leaders. They say the changes will undermine the country’s delicate system of checks and balances and democratic institutions. Netanyahu and his ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox allies say the changes are necessary to curb the power of unelected judges.

The battle to reform the judiciary is taking place as Netanyahu’s trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust drags on. The longtime leader has dismissed the charges against him as part of a “witch hunt” by a biased law enforcement, judiciary and press.

On Wednesday, tens of thousands of Israelis took part in demonstrations across the country against attempts by Netanyahu’s new government to weaken the Supreme Court and concentrate power in the hands of the ruling coalition.

Demonstrators blocked highways and major intersections in Tel Aviv and gathered in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence in Jerusalem. For the first time since the protests began two months ago, the street scene turned violent after Public Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a hardline nationalist settler, ordered police to crack down on protesters, whom he described as “anarchists “ referred to. At least 11 people were hospitalized and police arrested dozens.

Wednesday’s events culminated outside a posh salon in north Tel Aviv, where the prime minister’s wife had her hair done.

Moshe Butbul, a hairstylist at the salon, told Israeli news site Ynet that another customer posted a selfie with Sara Netanyahu. He claimed that “thousands arrived within minutes” although the actual number of protesters may have been fewer according to videos posted online.

Reporters at the scene said the crowd kept their distance and made no attempt to break into the salon. Ben-Gvir then dispatched a large number of security guards to the salon and said on Twitter he had ordered police to “save their lives” from the protesters who “besieged” the salon.

Hundreds of police officers, including mounted police officers, made their way through the demonstration to pull up an SUV. Protected by a phalanx of police, Sara Netanyahu was escorted from the saloon into the vehicle, which drove away under a heavy police escort.

“The anarchy has to stop,” Netanyahu said in a Facebook post, accompanied by a picture of him hugging his wife. “This can lead to loss of life.”

Netanyahu’s allies came to Sara Netanyahu’s defense on Thursday morning.

Galit Distel Atbaryan, Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy, called the incident “three hours of terror during which a woman was besieged by an incited mob.” Another Likud MP wrote on Twitter that the PM’s wife was “saved from a lynching” by a mob of “anarchists”.

Yair Golan, a former general and former Meretz Party lawmaker, told Kan Radio that “with all due respect, Sara Netanyahu is a political figure.”

Referring to what critics say her outsized political clout in the prime minister’s office, Golan claimed that “she is involved in national-level decision-making, approving high-level appointments left and right.”

The Netanyahus have been criticized for keeping out of touch with ordinary Israelis and for living lavish lifestyles at taxpayers’ expense. Last week, an Israeli parliamentary committee new funding approved for Netanyahu and his family.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Netanyahu denounces protesters after his wife’s salon was besieged

Sarah Y. Kim

InternetCloning is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button