Attorney General Expected to Announce on Friday Sara Netanyahu's Indictment for Fraud

Sara Netanyahu will be indicted on charges of fraudulently receiving items worth some 400,000 shekels ($113,000)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara in Tel Aviv, August 9, 2017
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara in Tel Aviv, August 9, 2017 AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

Israel's Attorney General is expected to announce an indictment of Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Friday, Channel 2 reported. The charges against her are receiving items worth 400,000 shekels ($113,000).

Sara Netanyahu is suspected of excessive spending at the prime minister’s official residence, which is against regulations. The charges include ordering chef’s meals against regulations and later concealing the fact that she did so. She and her husband have accused former chief caretaker of the official residence Meni Naftali, currently leading protests against the prime minister, of inflating the residence’s expenses.

Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page on behalf of his family that the claims "are absurd and will be proven to be baseless. Sara Netanyahu is a brave and honest woman and has never done anything wrong. Alongside her work as an expert educational psychologist treating children every week, she spends a lot of time helping children with cancer, Holocaust survivors and lone soldiers."

He claimed in the post, "The sharp increase in spending at the prime minister's residence was caused by offenses committed by the problematic chief caretaker, Meni Naftali, a criminal state's witness and a serial liar. The average monthly spending on ordered meals while [he worked there] was five times the monthly average during the four years that followed, when Naftali did not work there. That says it all.

"Naftali is making false accusations against the prime minister's wife to extricate himself from accountability for the offenses he committed."

"Not only did the prime minister's wife not commit any offense," the post continues, "the very focus on the meals of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who works around the clock for the country and its security, as well as the focus on his family's meals, is pathetic and obsessive." 

Sara Netanyahu has denied the suspicions. About a month ago at a rally of Likud supporters, the prime minister described the investigation as a preoccupation with unimportant matters. “They’re dealing with the most important things in the world,” he told supporters sarcastically, “the procedure for replacing a light bulb, trays of food, the cup of tea that was served to her father, a righteous man, on his deathbed.”

The decision to indict Sara Netanyahu in the residence affair is the first in a series of moves to be made in the coming months in cases in which the prime minister and members of his inner circle are suspects.

A senior law enforcement official said the likelihood was that police would submit their recommendations in December regarding Case 1000, in which the prime minister is suspected of illicitly receiving gifts from wealthy patrons, and Case 2000, in which Netanyahu is suspected of attempting to concoct a deal with Arnon Mozes, publisher of the mass-circulation daily Yedioth Ahronoth, to receive favorable coverage in the newspaper in exchange for cutting back on the competing free daily, Israel Hayom.