Adelsons Told Police Sara Netanyahu Is 'Crazy' and 'Decides Everything'

New details from the billionaire couple's testimony in the prime minister's corruption case, reported by Channel 13, include shock and dismay over his wife's behavior

The Adelsons and the Netanyahus, Ariel, West Bank, June 28, 2017.
Moti Milrod

Multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, once Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s key supporter, and his wife Miriam testified to police that Sara Netanyahu was “crazy” and that “she decides everything,” including key appointments and even some political matters, in the Netanyahu household, Channel 13 reported Sunday.

“She’s completely crazy,” said Sheldon Adelson, publisher of the Israel Hayom daily. “She was compulsive about photos of herself and how she looked. She said ‘I’m the first lady, I’m a psychologist and I teach children about psychology.’ ... She would tell my wife that if Iran attacked it would be her fault … because we didn’t publish good pictures of her,” said Adelson, a leading donor to Israeli and Jewish causes as well as to the Republican Party. 

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Dr. Miriam Adelson told police that Sara chooses the people who work with the prime minister. “She chooses the workers, the people around him, the staff, his secretary. Then she knows everything that goes on,” she said. When asked if Sara Netanyahu influences governmental appointments, Adelson said, “Those too, I believe.”

The Adelsons made their statements in the police investigation into Case 2000, involving a deal Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly negotiated with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes for favorable coverage in return for undermining Israel Hayom, its main rival. The deal was never consummated. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has decided to charge Netanyahu with fraud and breach of trust in this case, subject to a hearing.

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Sheldon Adelson also told police that Benjamin Netanyahu had sought to convince him to replace Israel Hayom's editor-in-chief with Nir Hefetz – who was once media adviser to the Netanyahu family (and has now turned state's witness).

The Prime Minister’s Office denied the entirety of the Adelsons’ statements: “Except for the names mentioned there isn’t a single word of truth in this fraudulent report. It is a pile of distorted and defamatory lies. Its entire aim is to harm Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife on the eve of the election.”

In her testimony, Miriam Adelson described an outburst by the first lady, saying, “At dinner at our house she screamed terribly loudly, to the point where Bibi told her they were leaving.”

When asked what Sara Netanyahu was screaming about, Dr. Adelson replied, “That I’m sucking her blood. It was horrible. She lost her senses. I hugged her and said, ‘Saraleh, it’ll be alright.’”

Dr. Adelson said the prime minister’s wife was “simply not healthy,” adding, “As a doctor I have sympathy for people who are not healthy. I treat addicts. She is not healthy.”

Referring to Sara Netanyahu’s hatred of Yamina leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, Dr. Adelson testified, “It bothers me that we have a prime minister whose wife decides everything. I was livid after the last election when he [the prime minister] didn’t form a coalition with Bennett because she hates him.”

"The fate of the Jewish people is decided because the lady hates Bennett and Shaked, so he doesn't form a coalition with the fitting right-wingers," Adelson said.

Dr. Adelson also testified that Sara Netanyahu had asked her to make a donation to an organization that served the Netanyahus’ political interests.

Dr. Adelson told investigators: “There’s a fund that belongs to a Moroccan Jew that she wanted me to donate to. She said it was nice to donate to scholarships for children of Moroccan descent. And then she said a sentence that I did not like. She said, ‘He [the one responsible for the scholarships] helps us out in the elections, in Ashdod or something.’ I gave him the honor and heard him out, but in the end, he didn’t receive a single cent.”