Former Caregiver in Netanyahu's Home: I Was Forced to Work 24 Hours a Day

Tara Kumari, who was fired for allegedly mistreating Sara Netanyahu's father, says he has no complaints about Sara’s father, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, 'and he has no complaints about me'.

Tara Kumari, the Nepalese former caregiver for Sara Netanyahu’s father, held a press conference on Thursday night , saying during her tenure in the Netanyahu household, she was forced to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

She reiterated her claim that she was injured during a confrontation with the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu. “Netanyahu ran in my direction. I was scared. I moved back, fell on the floor and my pinky broke,” she said.

Tara Kumari - Emil Salman - August 31 2011
Emil Salman

Kumari said that she had no complaints about Sara’s father, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, “and he has no complaints about me.”

“I am sorry I was not given a chance to say goodbye to him when I was forced to leave the prime minister’s home without notice,” she said.

Kumari claimed she holds no anger toward Sara Netanyahu, adding that they were on good terms throughout the time she worked for her, except the last few days in which the prime minister’s wife began complaining about Kumari’s work.

The Nepalese worker was accompanied by her lawyer, Dena Yohana Lerman at the conference Thursday, that was convened with the help of the Center for Assistance of Foreign Workers and Doctors for Civil Rights.

Lerman claimed that Kumari did not receive her entire salary, adding “they did not provide her with convalescence pay , give her holidays off or severance.” The lawyer also claimed that the Nepalese worker was forced to signed a document in which she gave up her rights and demands, despite the fact that it was not written in her mother tongue and no lawyers were present when it was signed.

“This was not ethical and not appropriate, because the worker [Kumari] had no way of understanding what she was signing,” Lerman said.
She added that she hoped the issue could be resolved without going to court.

The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the caregiver’s claims soon after they were made public on Monday, arguing that Kumari’s claims were motivated by her imminent firing from her position over what the PMO called the mistreatment of Mrs. Netanyahu’s father, Shmuel Ben-Artzi.

In one missive released by Netanyahu’s office on Tuesday, titled “Another Case of Negligence Committed by Tara Kumari,” it was claimed that the Nepalese national employed in the Netanyahu residence left Sara Netanyahu’s elderly father unattended in his room, leading to his subsequent injury.

According to the press release, the caregiver left the Netanyahu residence in order to conduct an interview with one “of the Israeli television networks outside of the official residence.”

The missive also quoted the family physician - who had been interviewed on Israeli radio stations throughout the day - as testifying that the 96-year-old suffered from bruises and was treated with sedatives.

That report came quick on the heels of another PMO press release, in which, unprecedentedly, unnamed sources were used to bolster claims by the Netanyahus that Kumari had been negligent in her treatment of Mr. Ben-Artzi.

The facts as they are disclosed “prove that [Kumari] is a negligent caregiver, prone to temper tantrums, who failed to properly treat Mr. Ben-Artzi,” the press release said.

On Wednesday evening, the Netanyahu family announced that Kumari had been fired.

This is not the first time that Sara Netanyahu has become embroiled in a controversy with a household employee. In 2010, a housekeeper accused Mrs. Netanyahu of mistreating and underpaying her.