Sara Netanyahu rejects claims that she interferes in the work of her husband, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying, “There are wives and even husbands of Knesset members who are much more involved than I am in their spouses’ work. He doesn’t seek my advice on issues of the cabinet, defense or economics, none of which I understand, but when it comes down to it, I’m a psychologist, and my loyalty to him is irreproachable.”
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Netanyahu was speaking in an interview that will appear on Friday in the Hebrew newspaper Maariv.
“It’s an elitist and chauvinist approach that blames the woman, that says everything must be the woman’s fault. It’s a very sexist approach — a concerted effort to humiliate the prime minister’s wife in her natural role as partner and helpmeet,” Netanyahu said.
Regarding media coverage of her, Netanyahu said: “Anyone who has anything bad to say about me is suddenly very popular in the media,” adding that she is “a very strong woman, psychologically and emotionally. A regular, average person would have had a breakdown long ago.”
Netanyahu also said in the interview she has been under the scrutiny of the media since 1996, the year Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister for the first time. “We were a young couple from the wrong side of the political map, not bad looking, educated, with cute little children. As a journalist once told me: ‘If you had been from the left, you, just as you are, would have been our queen.’”
Netanyahu said it was important to make a distinction between the attitude toward her in the media and among the general public. “When I went to visit soldiers in the hospital during Operation Protective Edge or the families of soldiers who had dies, the people I met always said the same thing: ‘Don’t pay any attention to the media. We love you.’”
Sara Netanyahu also spoke with Jerusalem Post, coming out strongly against media criticism of both herself and her husband, and claiming that the couple is being targeted by the owner of Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper.
Of her husband, Netanyahu said that "he’s a hero not only of the Jewish people, but of people everywhere who feel themselves part of the free world, people who oppose the horrors that Islamic State is inflicting and Iran’s nuclear plans. I see my relationship with him as a great responsibility," Sara Netanyahu told Jerusalem Post contributor Noami Ragen.
The interviews come as figures in the prime minister’s Likud party fear that a recording of an embarrassing telephone conversation will be leaked to the media on the eve of the March 17 election.
In the recording, Sara Netanyhu can be heard berating Monique Ben Melekh, the wife of the former Mayor of Sderot, Eli Moyal, for her husband’s criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct of last summer’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Moyal confirmed the existence of the recording on Wednesday, saying that he supported its publication but it was up to his wife to decide what to do with it.