Netanyahu’s Office Rushes to Contain His Latest Domestic Controversy

Spate of PMO press releases claim Nepalese worker mistreated Sara Netanyahu’s aging father, day after migrant worker said PM's wife assaulted her.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seemingly engaged in an attempt to contain a potentially embarrassing controversy from breaking out on Tuesday, as the Prime Minister’s Office unleashed an apparent media attack on a caregiver employed by the Netanyahu family.

The media onslaught, in the form of several official press releases issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, came a day after a Nepalese migrant worker employed by the Netanyahus as a caregiver for Sara Netanyahu’s aging father, claimed that she had been injured during a confrontation with Mrs. Netanyahu, an incident which took place two weeks ago.

Sara Netanyahu and her father (Dec. 19, 2010) Olivier Fitoussi
Olivier Fitoussi

Responding to the caregiver’s claims soon after they were made public on Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office argued that Tara 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.