Jerusalem Court Advises Sara Netanyahu to Release Employment Info

The hearing follows a petition from an Israeli journalist for details of her employment at Jerusalem's municipality

Sara Netanyahu at the Knesset, January 31, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

Jerusalem District Court Judge Arnon Darel advised Sara Netanyahu and the Jerusalem municipality on Thursday to consider releasing information about her employment as a child psychologist at the municipality following a request for information by journalist Ben Caspit.

The request included information on her work responsibilities at the municiplaity, the number of hours she worked per month, whether there were disciplinary issues, and the period of time that Netanyahu was not working. Caspit made the request under the Freedom of Information Act and petitioned the District Court after the city refused to hand it over.

The Jerusalem municipality refused to release the requested information regarding Netanyahu's employment partly on the grounds that doing so could harm her privacy.

"This is information whose release would harm the safety and security of Mrs. Netanyahu and those around her, in the framework of her professional work, which is protected by authorized security forces," the municipality said.

Darel noted that neither the city nor Netanyahu successfully proved the claim that the release of the requested information would present a risk to her safety.

As for the request to receive information about disciplinary complaints against her, the city said, "there are no such complaints about Mrs. Netanyahu's conduct."

Caspit argued, through his attorney, Elad Mann, that the prime minister and his wife Sara Netanyahu have repeatedly emphasized that she is "the first prime minister's wife to continue working regularly in her profession as an expert child psychologist in the civil service and she is also a full-time mother to her two sons."

Netanyahu's attorney, Yossi Cohen, argued on Thursday that the requested information had no public interest. According to him, "It's only so that he [Caspit] can taunt her and establish very serious things that I won't read because it hurts me to read them."

Cohen criticized Caspit for hiding the fact from the court that Netanyahu filed a suit against him eight years ago and that the two have a long-standing rivalry.