update desk

Netanyahu family to be protected by Shin Bet

The prime minister's wife was trapped by protesters last week.

The Netanyahu family in 2016. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
The Netanyahu family in 2016. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) will take over responsibility for protecting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife and sons, the Ministerial Committee for Shin Bet Affairs decided on Sunday.

The decision comes in response to a request last week by the Prime Minister’s Office to transfer protection from the defense unit normally tasked with protecting government officials to the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin chaired the committee in place of the prime minister, who couldn’t participate in the discussion as it involved members of his family.

Also on the committee were Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Yoav Kisch, who is both education minister and regional cooperation minister.

The request from the Prime Minister’s Office following the March 1 incident in which the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, had to be rescued by hundreds of police after being trapped for hours by anti-judicial reform protesters in Tel Aviv.

Protesters identified Sara Netanyahu entering a hair salon. Thousands converged on the scene, shouting, “She won’t be allowed to leave the barber shop” and “shame.”

Police first blocked the entrance to the hair salon to prevent protesters from entering the hair salon, while mounted officers were called to the scene to reinforce the perimeter. Helicopters hovered overhead. Clashes broke out between the protesters and police.

Security forces were able to extract her from the site around 11 p.m.

The prime minister condemned the protesters on Twitter: “The anarchistic activists under the leadership of [opposition leader Yair] Lapid continue to cross red lines. They are currently harassing and threatening my wife in Tel Aviv. I call on Lapid and the opposition to stop this immediately and condemn this shameful, unprecedented act.”

In December 2021, the previous government decided to remove the security detail from the Netanyahu family. Sources close to the family complained that the decision was political and would put the family at risk given the number of threats they received.

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