For weeks, Israelis have been demonstrating against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving prime minister, who is ensnared in corruption cases alongside discontent over his handling of the coronavirus.
The latest in a long list of grievances: Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, violated the country’s curfew by having a hairdresser come to the official residence last week.
Netanyahu — or King Bibi, as one nickname goes — and his family have repeatedly angered the public with revelations of their lavish lifestyle, paid for by Israeli taxpayers. Israeli media has poured over receipts of the Netanyahus’ ice cream budget. Last June, Sara Netanyahu pleaded guilty to misusing state funds to order catered meals, a violation of the law as the Netanyahus already employ a cook. She’s also been fined thousands of dollars in cases accusing her of abusing staff.
In the latest incident, first reported by Israel’s Yediot Ahronot, Sara Netanyahu commissioned a hairdresser to come to her home last week to prepare her hair before she filmed a video urging the public to wear face masks.
Hair salons in Israel were ordered to close last month after Netanyahu ordered a sweeping shutdown of the country to curb rising coronavirus cases. His critics, however, say that he’s also used the opportunity to try to stop weekly anti-government demonstrations. Under the current rules, anyone who travels more than 0.6 miles from their home for nonessential reasons could be fined $150.
An unnamed source on behalf of the Netanyahus told Yediot Ahronot that the first family has abided by all coronavirus restrictions. Sara Netanyahu, they said in a statement, had the right to employ the hairdresser to prepare for the public service announcement, and that everyone wore a mask and gloves during the appointment.
According to Yediot Ahronot, however, under the law, only Benjamin Netanyahu is permitted to make use of such services, while his wife is not.
Elsewhere, political figures have come under fire over accusations of violating coronavirus restrictions for nonessential services. In early September, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she was “set up” after being filmed in a salon without a face mask.