Trial Resumes in Lawsuit Filed by Sara Netanyahu's Former Housekeeper

Lillian Peretz says the prime minister's wife treated her unfairly when she worked at the couple's Caesarea home.

The trial of the law suit filed against Sara Netanyahu by a former housekeeper resumed on Monday morning at the Haifa District Court.

Lillian Peretz says the prime minister's wife treated her unfairly when she worked at the couple's Caesarea home. She filed a suit in January 2010, seeking NIS 300,000 in compensation including alleged unpaid wages and severance of pay. Peretz also claims that social benefits were not paid on her net salary, which ranged between NIS 2,500 and NIS 3,800 per month.

Sara Netanyahu's former housekeeper Lillian Peretz in Haifa, on April 16, 2012.
Hagai Frid

On Monday morning, Peretz provided evidence for two and a half hours and was cross-examined by lawyers of the Netanyahu family on claims including that of her alleged unpaid salary.

The cross-examination allowed Netanyahu's lawyers to present their line of defense. The questions asked by Netanyahu's lawyer, David Shimron, attempted to claim that Peretz quit and was not fired and that her direct employer was in fact a manpower company that Peretaz was employed by shortly after Benjamin Netanyahu was appointed as prime minister. Shimron also claimed that Peretz worked and received payment by other employers at the same time as she worked at the Netanyahu's Caesarea home, including the house of the Eisenberg family's neighbors and at the Tshuva family, despite that those details were excluded from her affidavit.

Peretz was enraged throughout the discussion. She described the Eisenberg family "incredible," but said she worked at the Netanyahu family under great stress and anxiety.

Sara Netanyahu arrived at the court 45 minutes late, but was very involved in the examination, writing notes to her lawyer throughout her stay.

The lawsuit filed by Peretz in 2010 stated that Sara Netanyahu "like in the story of Cinderella, burdened [Peretz] with impossible tasks ... and screamed at her." The complaint also said that from the time Netanyahu was elected prime minister, Peretz was forbidden to call Sara Netanyahu by her first name.

The complaint said Sara Netanyahu demanded that the housekeeper return to the couple's home on the eve of Passover to do the family's laundry, and that she refused to pay additional compensation. She allegedly said that "it was an honor to work for the Netanyahu family."

The suit also alleges that Peretz was barred from using the house's water cooler and had to bring food from home. She was also prohibited from wearing makeup so that it would not soil Sara Netanyahu's linens and clothing, the suit said.

It alleged that the housekeeper was brought to tears almost every day. Peretz said that when she tried to quit, senior political figures dissuaded her and made her sign a commitment to pay a $50,000 fine if she violated the deal.

The Prime Minister's office, in denying the claims, cited Peretz's September 2008 resignation letter in which she said she was quitting "with a lot of love and appreciation."

It also said the website Ynet quoted Peretz as saying in the presence of one of the Netanyahus that "I'm crazy about Sara. I don't have girlfriends and she is a friend, mother and helper. She is everything to me. She is an amazing person."

Read this article in Hebrew.