Nili Priel by David Bachar
Nili Priel. Photo by David Bachar
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Nili Priell, wife of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, was indicted yesterday for illegally employing a foreign worker. If she is found guilty, she could be slapped with a fine of up to NIS 100,000.

Priell is accused of employing Virginia Navaro, a Filipina citizen, in breach of the Entry into Israel Law, and without giving Navaro health insurance or a contract.

After the indictment was issued, the Movement for Quality Government asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to name Barak as a defendant as well, arguing that in cases of indictments for employing foreign workers illegally, both members of the household are automatically named. As a senior government figure, Barak should make sure anyone working in his home is legally employed, said the group. The law enforcement authorities should be allowed to use all the tools at their disposal to prove the case, as would be done with an average citizen, the group said.

However, the Population and Immigration Authority responded: "The law requires the indictment to be issued against the person who employs the employee, and the investigation revealed that the person was Nili Priell. Barak was not questioned at all in the affair."

The request by the Movement for Quality Government places Weinstein in a problematic position, since the Population and Immigration Authority is investigating his wife for employing a foreign worker in their home, too. However, a decision has not been made on whether to indict in Weinstein's case.

In response to a petition on the matter submitted in late 2010 to the High Court of Justice by the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, Priell said she alone had hired Navaro and that the attempt to involve Barak was politically motivated.