Ex-housekeepers: Sara Netanyahu 'Humiliated' Her Staff

Netanyahu family accuses media of highlighting story as election ploy.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu.Credit: David Bachar
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Affidavits submitted by two former employees of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence reveal alleged violence and humiliation against the residence’s former housekeeper and others by Sara Netanyahu.

The affidavits were submitted to the Regional Labor Court as part of the ongoing case of the ex-custodian, Menny Naftali. One of the employees, whose name was given as Eliyahu, wrote: “As an employee at the prime minister’s residence I was a witness to Mrs. Netanyahu’s improper conduct, aggressive statements and shouting toward Mr. Naftali.”

The affidavit also stated that he was called to the prime minister’s residence after midnight one night, “only to heat up a bowl of soup for Mrs. Netanyahu. When I got to the residence, she scolded me that I have to return to the residence at any time she wants to eat.”

Another time, the affidavit states, “I was called to the prime minister’s residence from my home late at night, but this time I was brought back to wish the prime minister’s wife good night and she scolded me that I had to inform her personally when I was done working and tell her good night.”

According to Eliyahu, all the employees feared dealing with food at the residence because that was a particularly sensitive area with Mrs. Netanyahu, which “always involved fear of scolding and shouting.”

Employees also feared having to serve in the residential wing. “Mrs. Netanyahu was always suspicious that the employees were ‘contaminating’ the food served in the residence,” the affidavit stated.

Eliyahu also said that Mrs. Netanyahu would drink alcoholic beverages, which increased her outbreaks of anger against the employees.

Another employee, Emanuel Sela, also attested in an affidavit to Sara Netanyahu’s alleged humiliation and aggressive behavior, including “shouting, attacks and unceasing pressure, including conflicting instructions that I received from the prime minister and Mrs. Netanyahu at the same time.”

For example, according to Sela, when two speech writers came to the house, the prime minister asked him to prepare them something to eat. “I was alone on the shift and while preparing sandwiches, the prime minister’s wife called and asked me to bring a glass of wine to her room. When I told her I was busy at the moment preparing sandwiches, Mrs. Netanyahu shouted at me that she forbade me to make sandwiches for the speech writers, because she has honey cake on the upper floor and it would be enough to cut off the ends and serve it with coffee. ‘I have no budget for that,’ she said.”

Sela said that when he returned to the prime minister, the latter asked whether he had prepared the sandwiches, and Mrs. Netanyahu was present. “I said I had made the sandwiches, but they should decide what they want to do. The prime minister patted me on the back and told me to bring the sandwiches immediately to the room. The prime minister’s wife stood next to him fuming, and that was held against me throughout my service. From then on, Mrs. Netanyahu did everything to humiliate me and clip my wings in the house, and forbade me to serve her food unless I was alone in the house.”

According to Sela, because of the conditions of his employment at the prime minister’s residence he suffered a heart attack and has suffered from health problems since that time.

Naftali’s attorneys, Naomi Landau and Nava Pinchuk-Alexander, asked the court to summon two more employees who had refused to submit affidavits for Naftali. According to Naftali, their refusal stemmed from their fear of the Netanyahu family’s response.

The Netanyahu family responded: “The recycled wave of slander and lies on the part of former employees is not coincidental. It is intended to hurt the prime minister and his wife during the election campaign and squeeze money from the state unlawfully. The suit submitted to the Labor Court is not against the prime minister’s wife and she is not even on the list of respondents. However, Menny Naftali and his accomplices weave Mrs. Netanyahu’s name and invent intentional lies and distortions at every opportunity at a time clearly intended to impact the election in Israel.”

The Netanyahu family statement also noted that the deputy director general for security and emergencies in the Prime Minister’s Office determined that Menny Naftali was discharged as a security guard in December 2010 as a result of “unbecoming conduct manifested by conflict and a physical altercation with another security guard,” and that the family was certain that the truth would come to light in court.

The family expressed “regret that meanwhile the media is collaborating with the campaign to spill the blood of the prime minister’s wife, all to hurt the prime minister through his wife at election time.”

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