Facing Libel Suit, Former PM Olmert Says Will Demand Psych Evaluations for Netanyahu and Family

After Netanyahu family files suit over being called mentally ill, former prime minister says he will demand Netanyahu, his wife, and his son waive confidentiality on their mental health

Hagai Amit
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Ehud Olmert speaks at a conference, last year.
Ehud Olmert speaks at a conference, last year.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Hagai Amit

If a libel suit filed by opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu's family goes to court, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will demand that they undergo a psychiatric evaluation by a psychiatrist of his choice, he said in an official court filing in response to the suit on Sunday. 

The brief said that if the suit actually goes to court, Olmert will demand that all three plaintiffs – Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara and their son Yair – waive medical confidentiality about their mental health and disclose all information and documents in their position about this issue, including any medications they have taken and any psychiatric hospitalizations.

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A psychiatric opinion of the Netanyahu family would include terms like “Napoleon complex,” “delusions of grandeur” and “personality disorders,” Olmert charged in the court filing. 

Aside from Napoleon complex, delusions of grandeur and personality disorders, other terms likely to appear in such an evaluation include “paranoia,” “megalomania,” “narcissism,” “schizophrenia,” “obsessive compulsive disorder,” “shared psychosis,” “sociopathy,” “schizoid,” “generalized anxiety disorder” “attacks of rage” and “addiction,” the brief said.

The brief is a response to a libel suit that the Netanyahus filed in May over an interview Olmert gave to DemocraTV. The interview included comments such as “what can’t be fixed is the mental illness of the prime minister, his wife and his son.”

The Netanyahus’ lawyer, Yossi Cohen, had demanded that Olmert publicly apologize and pay the family 1 million shekels ($310,000) in damages within seven days if he wanted to avoid a suit, but Olmert refused. When he filed the suit, Cohen said that Olmert’s remarks stemmed from the former premier’s own psychological distress.

In his brief, Olmert insisted that he doesn’t view “mental illness” as a derogatory term. He also pointed out that the Netanyahu family has made similar accusations of mental illness against other government officials, including former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Olmert also quoted the late Jacob Weinroth, an attorney who once represented the Netanyahus, as saying that there was reason to believe Benjamin and Yair had had psychological treatment, and also that they and Sara might all be mentally ill.

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