The former housekeeper of the prime minister’s residence claims that Sara Netanyahu saw the domestic staff there as constituting a “hygiene problem,” and that she tore up his resignation letter because her husband was “busy with Iran.”
On Thursday Meni Naftali submitted an affidavit to the Jerusalem Labor Court, where he has brought a lawsuit over Sara Netanyahu’s allegedly offensive behavior. The affidavit was submitted by attorney Nava Pinchuk-Alexander. It is the latest phase in the lawsuit Naftali brought last March against the state, the Netanyahus and his immediate supervisor, Ezra Saidoff, the deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office. Naftali is suing for about a million shekels ($264,000) in damages.
According to Naftali, “Mrs. Netanyahu saw all the workers as a ‘hygiene problem.’ The following rules concerning employee cleanliness were laid down in the prime minister’s official residence: Everyone who worked on the second floor had to change clothes three times per shift and shower before entering the bedroom. Women employees were asked to shower from time to time.”
Naftali added: “I recall that one time, when the prime minister’s wife ‘discovered’ one of the women employees had packed several eggs in the same bag by mistake, she asked me to go back to the kitchen with the worker and make sure the employee packed each egg in a separate bag within 20 seconds. I heard her shouting in the background: ‘Ten, nine, eight, seven, six ... you’re making the prime minister late! The coalition will fall apart because of you – because the prime minister will be driving on Shabbat!”
Naftali, who worked in the prime minister’s residence from February 2011 to November 2012, says when he served notice that he would be leaving, Sara Netanyahu tore up his letter of resignation and shouted at him, “The prime minister is busy with Iran ... he has no time for these things. You talk about the position with everyone. You work here to serve the prime minister. My salary is only 3,500 shekels, and I’m responsible for three homes. I’m a psychologist and I have troubles of my own.”
Naftali also repeated the claims he made in the initial lawsuit: That he had received a telephone call at 3 A.M. because he had bought milk in a bag (and not a carton); received a verbal scolding over a bouquet of flowers that was wilting in a vase (including the sentence, “That would never happen in the lysée Palace”); and criticism from Sara Netanyahu that he had brought too much food from the Dan Caesarea Hotel – she allegedly told him, “We’re refined Europeans. We don’t eat like you Moroccans do. You fatten us up, and then we look fat when we’re photographed abroad.”
A spokesperson for the Netanyahus said, “It’s unfortunate that at a time when the prime minister is putting all his efforts into dealing with crucial security problems for Israel’s citizens, he has to deal with heaps of lying, malicious and petty gossip against him and his wife. This is a cynical and malicious attempt by Meni Naftali to take money that he does not deserve from the state’s coffers, by insulting the prime minister and his wife. Meni Naftali portrays himself as a dedicated, professional and responsible employee. But the opposite is true, and that will be proven by a great deal of testimony and evidence that will be presented at the trial.
“The purpose of Meni Naftali’s lies and false claims against the prime minister’s wife is to smear her reputation for the sake of grabbing headlines. They have no factual, practical or legal basis. Fact: the lawsuit is not against the wife of the prime minister, and she is not listed at all among the defendants. Yet Meni Naftali still brings in the name of Mrs. Netanyahu at any price and at every opportunity, recycling a series of lies, false claims and biased distortions again and again, for obvious reasons. We have absolute confidence that the truth about his dubious accounts and motivations will become clear in court, and that justice will be done.”
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