66-year-old Woman Detained After Photographing Netanyahu Residence for Grandson's School Project

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The prime minister's current residence in Jerusalem's Balfour Street.Credit: Ya'acov Sa'ar

A 66-year-old Jerusalem woman was detained for an hour and a half on Sunday by guards at the Prime Minister's Residence for taking a photo of the building from afar.

Hedva Admon was walking in the evening on Brenner Street in the neighborhood of Rehavia. She remembered that her grandson, a student in the third grade, needed a photo of Beit Aghion, the historic building that includes the Prime Minister's Residence, for a school presentation about Jerusalem.

She took a photo of the building on her cell phone from afar from a street that's outside of the area closed to vehicle and foot traffic. There are no signs in the area that state it is forbidden to take pictures.

"A guard approached me immediately and asked why I was taking pictures," said Admon. "I explained it to him and said that there's no sign that it's forbidden to take photos. He asked for my ID and I gave it to him. He asked me what school my grandson attends. I explained that he goes to school in Ein Habsor near the Gaza border.

"He asked if I know the name of a teacher in the school; I told him that was it, I wasn't prepared to answer any more. The guard threatened to call in a police squad. I told him to call. They spoke crudely and bluntly told me, 'Hedva, you're causing trouble.' I told them I could be their grandmother."

Admon was detained by the guards for an hour and a half as they checked her details on a computer at the guard post. Afterward they returned her identification card and she was allowed to continue on her way, but not before she was asked to delete the photo she had taken. 

"I have no problem deleting the picture because I have a photo of Beit Aghion, but this is indicative of our situation," said Admon.

Last year, security rules were tightened around the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem. The parallel Balfour Street was closed to foot traffic for several hours almost every day. The closure forced locals to make a major detour if they wanted to reach the city center. In addition, there was increased usage of the large black screen out on the street used to hide the prime minister's vehicle as it exited the building.

The Prime Minister's Office told Haaretz to contact the Shin Bet security service for a response to the incident, but the Shin Bet declined to comment.

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