Sara Netanyahu Interrogated by Police Over Misuse of Public Funds

The premier's wife, who police recommended prosecuting, is suspected in the so-called PM's Residence affair. Netanyahu's ex-chief of staff, Gil Sheffer, was also recently questioned in the case.

Sara Netanyahu at the Jerusalem Regional Labor Court in 2015.
Sara Netanyahu at the Jerusalem Regional Labor Court in 2015. Emil Salman

Police questioned Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, on Thursday, over the so-called Prime Minister’s Residence affair.

The questioning lasted over 11 hours, and finished after midnight Thursday night.

Sara Netanyahu said in response, “I reiterate there will be nothing because there is nothing” to the allegations.

Six months have passed since police recommended prosecuting Sara Netanyahu in the affair. The file was transferred to the Jerusalem District State Prosecutor’s Office in April, which in turn passed it back for completion of the investigation by the police.

Sara Netanyahu and Gil Sheffer at the Knesset in 2014.
Olivier Fitoussi

Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, Gil Sheffer, was also questioned recently about the affair. A source told Haaretz that about two weeks ago Ezra Saidoff, deputy director general in the Prime Minister’s Office, was questioned once again on his involvement in the affair.

The State Prosecutor’s Office refused to give details of the investigation.

The affair includes three separate cases. In one, Sara Netanyahu is suspected of ordering food and hiring private chefs for family events that were paid for by the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. It is suspected that private family entertainment expenses were financed by public funding.

In another case, the police recommended charging the prime minister’s wife for paying expenses for a live-in caregiver for her father from the budget of the Prime Minister’s Residence.

The third case involves work done by electrician Avi Fahima, a member of the Likud party who has been close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for years. Police suspect Sara Netanyahu asked Fahima to do work at the house in Caesarea on weekends, contrary to policy, when Fahima’s fees were higher.

Police said they also have evidence to charge Sara Netanyahu for moving garden furniture from the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem to the private house in Caesarea.