'I Am a Battered Woman,' Sara Netanyahu Says Over Protesters’ Calls Against Her

In an interview with Channel 12 News, the prime minister's wife criticizes Kahol Lavan leaders for not denouncing calls against her during demonstrations, calls protesters 'hooligans' who are snorting drugs

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Sara Netanyahu and her husband Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset swearing-in ceremony in Jerusalem, May 17, 2020.
Sara Netanyahu and her husband Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset swearing-in ceremony in Jerusalem, May 17, 2020.Credit: Alex Kolomoisky
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Haaretz

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called herself a "battered woman" and said that her "children are battered and the media won't call it out" in an interview with Channel 12 News Wednesday, referring to online statements against the family and the months-long protests againsther husband outside of their official Jerusalem residence.  

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"I feel like I've gone through sexual violence," she said of the protests, and calls and social media posts opposing her. "Condemnation of what they did to me must come from everyone."

She said that she did not hear Defense Minister Benny Gantz or Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, both of coalition party Kahol Lavan, "denouncing the protests and the threats that they will murder us."

Netanyahu also added that the family's security detail "is not so tight."  Netanyahu complained to police on Tuesday about threats on her life.

It was recently reported that the Shin Bet security force as bolstered security around the prime minister and his family.

"The people at the protests are hooligans, screaming 'death to Bibi and Sara,' screaming rude words," Netanyahu added. "This isn't like the demonstrations by social workers or the self-employed, who did it in a cultured way," she said. "The protesters in Jerusalem 'are doing lines [of cocaine], doing drugs,'" Netanyahu said, and the television stations are "painting them in a positive light."

On Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu attacked Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, accusing him of passivity in the face of incitement against himself and his family.

"Your inaction in the face of calls for my murder and that of my family members, and threats to rape my wife are nothing less than the scandalous forfeiting of our blood," the prime minister wrote, adding: "You did not see fit to immediately open an investigation into an abominable tweet that was sent to you, in which a Twitter user explicitly threatened to rape my wife."

Following the publication of the prime minister's letter, the Israel Police stated that it had already opened an investigation into the tweet, which was posted in March 2019, several days ago and had questioned the owner of the account on suspicion of sexual harassment and released him under restrictive conditions.

Netanyahu said in response that she is "Not sure [the tweet] is from a year and a half ago, they showed it to me on Monday morning. It can't be that it was online for a year and a half and it didn't get to a single one of our spokespeople," she added.

Mendelblit responded to the prime minister: "There is no basis to your claim that anyone is taking complaints by you or your family members lightly," he wrote, adding that "Public leaders also have the central role and a responsibility" in calming the public discourse, "lest we find ourselves facing the difficult and unforgivable consequences."

Netanyahu was also asked about online statements her son Yair made about journalist Dana Weiss, for which he apologized last month. "Dana Weiss called my son a shit head!" she answered, adding that Yair "said something less bad, he hinted. He didn't say anything textually sexual. Dana Weiss is a one-sided woman. She attacks me day after day, night after night."

In May, Yair Netanyahu tweeted about the Channel 12 anchorwoman, saying “Does anyone know how Dana Weiss was appointed to such a senior position at Channel 2? Eloquent? No. Smart? No. Interesting…”

When one commenter suggested that Weiss had interviewed for the position, like everyone else, Netanyahu shot back “Hmmmm... I don’t know if that’s called a job interview, what happened there.”

In response, Weiss and the media company notified Netanyahu that they would file a libel suit. Netanyahu later apologized for his tweets and retracted his comments.

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