Inmate Suspected of Threatening PM's Former Maid

The man police suspect of threatening to kill Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former housekeeper and her family if she did not withdraw a lawsuit against Sara Netanyahu is a felon currently in prison for fraud.

Oren Avraham, 30, of Ramle, who is serving a 16-year sentence in Hadarim prison, gained notoriety during Netanyahu's last term as prime minister when he ordered 40 pizzas to be delivered to a cabinet meeting using the credit card of a senior official in Netanyahu's administration at the time. Avraham denied involvement in recent threats against ex-housekeeper Lilian Peretz.

Police took the telephoned threats made against Peretz and her family over the past two weeks very seriously. An investigation by the coastal district's Central Unit and the investigations and intelligence division at police headquarters in Jerusalem zeroed in on Avraham.

Police suspect that it was Avraham who called Peretz's cell phone about 10 days ago and said "If you don't end the affair in 12 hours, you will be hurt personally. That's from Bibi." Another threatening call came at the beginning of this week, this time to Peretz's husband's phone, saying that if the suit were not withdrawn he and the couple's four children would be killed, mentioning the children by name. During questioning by police Wednesday night Avraham denied the allegations.

Peretz is suing Sara Netanyahu for NIS 300,000 claiming that the premier's wife abused her and denied her employee benefits.

Avraham's lawyer, Alon Davidov of the Public Defender's Office, said his client was to have appeared yesterday before a parole committee. "I am being framed so I won't get out," Avraham said before his appearance yesterday in the Haifa Magistrates' Court. "I have no connection to Sara Netanyahu, I'm innocent." He was remanded in custody for five days pending further investigation.

According to Davidov, the police "fired a shot in the dark." He said the telephones from which the calls were supposedly made can by used by any prisoner. However, Avraham has a long history of harassing officials, using false identities and making threats. He is in prison for accessing the bank accounts of judges and police officers, and of booking suites at the Dan Acadia Hotel in Herzliya in the name of an unsuspecting victim.