Ex-aide to Sara Netanyahu: I Also Suffered Verbal Abuse

The former housekeeper at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's home in Caesarea, who filed a lawsuit for mistreatment last week against the prime minister's wife, Sara, received backing yesterday from a former secretary to Sara Netanyahu.

Speaking on Army Radio, Naomi Igos, who worked for the first lady during Netanyahu's first term as prime minister in the 1990s, said "Sara Netanyahu is an employer who violates the law in every way possible."

Igos said reading about the suit filed by the housekeeper at the Netanyahu's Caesarea home, Lillian Peretz, brought back the memory of trauma that Igos said she herself suffered while working for Sara Netanyahu.

"When I read the report on Friday [about Peretz's suit], it took me back 12 years," she said. "The whole way in which [Mrs. Netanyahu] behaved, the yelling, the wild behavior, the phone calls at night - [and even though I am] a religious person, I was supposed to be available by phone on Shabbat."

The housekeeper is suing Netanyahu for NIS 300,000 in compensation, including alleged unpaid wages and severance pay, but she also claims that Sara Netanyahu burdened her with impossible tasks, screamed at her and forbade Peretz from calling her by her first name.

Peretz claimed that the job brought her to tears almost every day.

"If I [was] yelled at six times a day, her communications adviser gets it three times a day, then the prime minister gets it once," Igos said.

The Prime Minister's Office has denied the allegations. Channel 2 television broadcast a reaction yesterday from a source close to Sara Netanyahu, who said: "Lillian [Peretz] was employed continuously for six years straight and for most of the time maintained a house that was totally empty, without any contact with the Netanyahu family."

The source denied explicitly that Peretz was barred from calling Sara Netanyahu by her first name, saying that she used terms of endearment, such as "kapara" (the Hebrew equivalent of "darling") in addressing the prime minister's wife.

The sources said the housekeeper developed a strong and even extreme emotional attachment to Mrs. Netanyahu.