A court in Jerusalem has found that Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara insulted and humiliated her household staff at the Israeli prime minister's official residence.
Mrs. Netanyahu dismissed the allegations of mistreatment by Menachem Naftali, a former caretaker of the PM’s home, as “tendentious" and "evil gossip" when the civil lawsuit was filed in 2014.
She now intends to fight back over the verdict but the court has said the testimony by Naftali, as well as other former employees, about Mrs. Netanyahu’s alleged abusive behavior towards them was credible.
It is believed the latest case could cause problems for Netanyahu, who is currently serving his fourth term in office.
However, this isn’t the first time such a controversy has surrounded the leader’s wife.
In an earlier case in 2010, another ex-maid accused Sara Netanyahu of “tyrannizing” the employee over six years of service. The lawsuit was settled out of court.
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In December, Times of Israel reported that an unnamed household worker accused her of “drinking heavily” and even resorting to violence. There “certainly there was violence: physical violence, verbal violence, real violence,” according to the worker.
“This woman is dangerous,” she added. “I’m happy that she was summoned for investigation, and we’re praying someone stops this tyranny.”
But Mrs. Netanyahu’s outbursts, apparently, aren’t limited to domestic help.
Last February, she made headlines after the transcript of a secretly recorded phone call was made public. As per the reported text, Sara Netanyahu vehemently defended her husband’s decision to wage Operation Protective Edge — which claimed the lives of 2,251 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 551 children, and 66 Israel Defense Forces soldiers — and lambasted the wife of a political rival for criticizing the Israeli government.
“Where is your man? He doesn’t even come close to being my man! What, has Eli Moyal ever once spoken with a world leader? He isn’t even on the Likud ballot!” she said, according to the released transcript.
In the same month, another scandal emerged according to which Mrs. Netanyahu allegedly kept thousands of shekels from deposits on empty bottles, even though they were state property.
After a probe was launched into what was later billed “Bottlegate,” state comptroller and ombudsman Joseph Shapira found that Mrs. Netanyahu spent $68,000 in two years on makeup, hairstyling and "presentation” and an additional $41,000 in one year on takeout meals.
So, it might seem right now that the latest staff abuse case involving his wife might reflect badly on the Israeli PM, but the Netanyahu family, and not just his wife, has a long history of causing controversies — and it hasn’t really affected anything as far as Netanyahu’s political standing is concerned.