Droves of anti-government Israeli protesters gathered at Tel Aviv's popular Kikar Hamedina square on Wednesday evening to encircle a hair salon where Sarah Netanyahu, wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was getting her hair done.
Sarah Netanyahu was extracted from the angry crowds by security forces, but only after three hours of siege. When she returned to her home in Jerusalem, the Israeli premier posted a picture of the two hugging and posted on Twitter: “Sarah my beloved wife, glad you returned home safely and unharmed. The anarchy must stop – it can lead to loss of lives.”
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
Israeli police officers blocked the entrance to the upscale hair salon when protesters began to amass outside, after a woman shared a picture online showing the premier’s wife waiting at the premises.
The protesters chanted slogans against the government’s judicial reform, as well as criticizing Sarah with statements like: “The country is burning and Sara is getting a haircut!”
Drone videos emerged on social media showing the prime minister’s wife being evacuated in a black vehicle. Sounds of drums, booing and repeated chants of the word “Shame!” can be heard in the footage as the car drove away.
Media teams that arrived at the scene tried to talk to the owner of the salon, who seemed very shaken by the events.
“I am still in shock,” he told Israel’s News 12. “I am sorry, but I can’t speak. I am distressed after having experienced a trauma.”
The drama unfolded after Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a televised statement Wednesday evening, criticizing the demonstrators who blocked roads and clashed with police earlier in the day.
“Freedom to demonstrate is not a license to degrade the country into anarchy, to chaos. A sovereign nation cannot tolerate anarchy,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli premier came under fire for drawing parallels between the anti-government protests, expressing their opposition to a controversial judicial reform with Jewish settlers who rioted in the Arab town of Huwara in the West Bank on Sunday.
“We won’t accept violence in Huwara and we won’t accept violence in Tel Aviv,” Netanyahu stressed.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.