Ex-head of PM's Residence to Get Immunity in Testimony Against Netanyahu

Meni Naftali has demanded immunity from self-incrimination before continuing to give testimony about goings-on in the Netanyahu household.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Meni Naftali, the former manager of the prime minister’s household, is expected to receive immunity from prosecution in order to enable him to continue providing testimony to the police, the Justice Ministry announced on Thursday.

Naftali has been providing testimony about the administration of the Netanyahu household during his period of employment. He refused to continue testifying about two weeks ago, after the police refused to give him immunity from self-incrimination.

The ministry announced that it had been decided that the state prosecutor would recommend providing immunity to Naftali after a meeting with the attorney-general on Thursday.

“In the context of the state prosecutor’s examination of the material transferred by the State Comptroller concerning the prime minister’s residences, and further to Mr. Meni Naftali’s application to the police, in which he asked to lay charges, the head of the investigations and intelligence division was requested to conclude the taking of testimony from Mr. Naftali. He handed over the issue to the commander of the Lahav 433 unit for implementation,” the ministry said in a statement.

Naftali met with a libel lawyer on Thursday and said later that he intended laying a complaint of libel against Netanyahu next week, following Likud charges that he was responsible for the excessive expenses at the prime minister’s residence.

“The days in which people could say whatever they wanted without taking any responsibility are long gone,” Naftali said.

“My place of employment did not live up to its commitments to me and contravened numerous labor laws. I never dreamed that a prime minister of Israel would behave like that and blame me for the private expenses of himself and his family.”

Naftali also threatened to lay libel complaints against several people, among them the prime minister’s adviser Nir Hefetz and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who attempted to tie him to the comptroller’s report that was issued earlier this week.

He called on other employees at the prime minister’s residence to join him in his struggle, saying that “as a group they will no longer dare to hurt us.”

The findings of the comptroller’s report, which examined the expenses – both official and private – of the prime minister’s households between 2009 and 2013, included excessive expenditure, the bypassing of regulations and a lack of public awareness.

Netanyahu briefed Likud Knesset members before the release of the report on Tuesday, advising them to lay the blame for the bloated budget on Naftali.

Meni Naftali, the former manager of the Prime Minister Residence.Credit: Moti Milrod

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