Sara Netanyahu, wife of embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, declared that the ongoing protests against her husband had traumatized her and the family. "I am a battered woman and my children are battered", she claimed, referring to demonstrations during which people have demanded that her husband resign. The 61-year-old also stated that she had experienced sexual violence, referring to penis balloons carried by some protesters, as well as placards with vulgar and aggressive statements and online posts
“I certainly feel that I have experienced sexual violence,” Sara Netanyahu told Channel 12, adding that she felt unsafe and concerned for her welfare. The former flight attendant filed a police complaint against alleged sexual harassment by protesters.
Her statement about being "battered" was harshly criticized by Hagit Peer, head of a woman’s group, who said that Sara Netanyahu's assertions cheapen domestic violence. "Mrs. Netanyahu is not a battered woman," Peer noted, adding, "This is a cheapening of the concept and Mrs. Netanyahu, who has visited women’s shelters in the past, knows this".
The wife of the Israeli Prime Minister announced, however, that she expected officials and others to condemn the language used by demonstrators during the ongoing protests against her husband.
"The condemnation of what they did to me must come from all women, all men. It must come from all sides. I would expect the MKs [members of Knesset, Israeli parliament] who tut-tut over women’s rights, like [Meretz MK Tamar] Zandberg and [Labor MK Merav] Michaeli, to also speak out against it", she demanded.
The Netanyahus have complained previously about receiving murder threats during the massive protests. The prime minister accused demonstrators of trampling on democracy and the media of encouraging dissent, while his Likud party attempted to characterize the ongoing peaceful protests against Netanyahu as "left-wing riots".
Demonstrators on the street have criticized Netanyahu for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in Israel, as well as for corruption. Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister of the country, is currently on trial for bribery, breach of trust and fraud. He denies wrongdoing and claims he is a victim of a "witch hunt".