Netanyahu's wife whisked out of hair salon as hundreds of Israeli protesters close in

Netanyahu's wife whisked out of hair salon as hundreds of Israeli protesters close in
Sara Netanyahu had to be safely escorted out of a hair salon by her security team after a "surprise" visit by hundreds of protesters.
3 min read
02 March, 2023
Israelis blocked major roads on Wednesday and scuffled with the police in a 'day of national disruption' [Getty]

The Israeli prime minister’s wife had to be evacuated from a hair salon Wednesday evening after being surrounded by protesters angered by a controversial government plan to overhaul the judiciary.

Videos shared online showed what looked like hundreds of protesters in Tel Aviv outside the hair salon Sara Netanyahu was visiting. She was later ushered out by security and whisked away as police forces pushed back the protesters.

Reports said that while she wasn’t threatened with violence, protesters taunted her for being in a hair salon at such a critical time in Israeli politics.

Israelis – many of them outraged - shared their thoughts on social media.

Far-right extremist and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called the demonstrators "a bunch of privileged anarchists," claiming that their anger was because of their loss in the elections.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the protesters and opposition leader Yair Lapid of "continuing to cross red lines" after the incident with his wife.

He compared the protesters to Israeli settlers behind the rampage in the Palestinian village of Huwara last week, which saw homes attacked, cars torched and at least one Palestinian killed.

The attack came amid intensifying Israeli violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank which has killed at least 64 Palestinians since the beginning of the year.

Netanyahu’s comparison further angered Israelis protesting on the streets.

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On Wednesday, the protesters launched a 'day of national disruption' over the contentious changes to the country’s justice system, blocking major roads and clashing with police.

Dozens of the protesters were injured or arrested.

Netanyahu's far-right coalition government in January proposed what it has described as a "reform of the judiciary," giving ruling coalition lawmakers decisive sway in picking judges and limiting the scope of the Supreme Court to strike down legislation or rule against the executive.

The Knesset's Constitution, Justice and Law Committee gave initial approval to more proposals in the plan, in a vote boycotted by opposition lawmakers.

Critics say the proposals undermine judicial independence, given Israel has no constitution and only one house of parliament where the far-right coalition has a majority.

Many Israelis believe the plan – yet to be written into law – would deal a blow to what they call "Israeli democracy".

The protests have dealt a serious challenge to Netanyahu in the first few months of his government, as he also faces corruption charges, pressure from the international community over the construction and expansion of settlements, as well as Palestinian resistance against Israeli aggression.