Reading the plaintiff's statement of claim in a lawsuit is like perusing someone's personal diary. Such documents always contain a soul seeking to be revealed. For this reason, but not only because of this, a perusal of the lawsuit the prime minister's wife, Sara Netanyahu, filed on March 4 against her former housekeeper, Lillian Peretz, who has her own suit pending against Mrs. Netanyahu, is nothing short of hair-raising.
The first goal of Netanyahu and her lawyers, whose suit comes on the heels of two years of failed mediation efforts with Peretz, is to find a turn of phrase that meets the requirements of the defamation laws. After all, Netanyahu wants NIS 600,000 from Peretz, who, it will be remembered, earned a gross monthly salary of NIS 2,563 from Netanyahu. It's not just the sledgehammer that Mrs. Netanyahu is landing on Peretz's head that should bother anyone who reads the complaint, but the exaggerated, superfluous, melodramatic language used in weaving the disturbing description of exploitation, humiliation and shame - all of which was supposedly directed not at Peretz but at the premier's wife.
Sara Netanyahu, as reflected in interviews with her and in her complaint, perceives herself as being instigated by other people's violence. Her own aggressiveness is always explained by the mortal blow that preceded it from terrifying forces operating against her in spite of her good nature. In literary terms, we're talking here about a fantasy of a damsel in distress. And that's how she describes her reason for filing her suit: "The plaintiff [Netanyahu] exercised restraint for a long time in the face of a powerful wave of slanderous and malicious reports disseminated by the defendant [Peretz] ... while the plaintiff's hands were tied."
So it was not Sara Netanyahu, who has money, power, influence and the ability to manage her public image, but rather the defendant (gross salary NIS 2,563 a month ) who brought about a "powerful wave" with her magical influence.
But the tragedy for the lady from the Prime Minister's Residence didn't end there. "The plaintiff witnessed with a heavy heart how her blood was spilled [!] in full public view by the media, when the defendant turned her into a punching bag [imagery!], doing damage to her name and reputation, cruelly and mercilessly lashing out [!] at her through the media while she was prevented from responding as a consequence of her high public status."
Even though the "spilling of blood" has long since been an empty cliche of Israeli life, Netanyahu's apparent relish in describing scenes of sadistic abuse being perpetrated against the weak and bound woman that is none other than she herself is not just a rhetorical tool intended to enhance her argument. On the assumption that the person who wrote the complaint was not being cynical, Netanyahu should be believed when she says she felt hounded and victimized by a massive and organized evil system cracked by Peretz and not by her. After all, the complaint is personal, filed against Peretz alone. Against this backdrop, the effect is almost comical, reflecting a near-lack of lexical understanding of the phrase "her high public status." That status doesn't bar Netanyahu from anything, but it does require her to conduct herself ethically at home.
And it continues: "Very unfortunately, the more the plaintiff restrained herself, the more the media campaign of vengeance grew, by means of which the defendant carried out ... a malicious and cruel smear campaign that exceeds the bounds of the law and the basic norms at the foundation of the Israeli legal system." Indeed, Peretz's cruelty knows no bounds. She was given the privilege of working in the intimate precincts of Mrs. Netanyahu, and yet she isn't even grateful for it! If she had been, in the full sense of the word, Netanyahu wouldn't have been obliged to attack.
As comical as the exaggeration of the extent of the damage that the housekeeper may have done, the complaint reveals a disturbing emotional reality in which Sara Netanyahu fails to take responsibility for her own actions, while at the same time unleashing her own thuggish legal assault. By her line of reasoning, darkness is embodied in the figure of maintenance workers. If that is her experience, perhaps she needs an open-ended break from her official duties.
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