Jerusalem Ordered to Release Data on Sara Netanyahu’s Work History

Court enforces reporter’s freedom of information request concerning PM’s wife

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

Jerusalem must provide information about its employment of Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a psychologist for the city.

The Jerusalem District Court issued the ruling on Sunday, after Sara Netanyahu and the municipality refused a freedom of information request submitted by journalist Ben Caspit. The court said the city must provide details on when Netanyahu began working for Jerusalem, any changes in the scope of her position, the number of hours she worked in the year preceding the request (December 2016) and any breaks in her work history that lasted more than 30 days.

However, Judge Arnon Darel denied Caspit’s request for a list of the educational institutions for which Netanyahu worked and information concerning any complaints about her performance. He instructed the city to release the information within 30 days and ordered it to pay Caspit and his lawyer 7,500 shekels ($2,070) in expenses.

Netanyahu had argued that the request was spiteful and motivated by irrelevant considerations, and that releasing the information would be an infringement of her privacy and could endanger her security.

In his ruling, Darel noted that Netanyahu has often mentioned publicly that she works as an educational psychologist alongside her public duties as the prime minister’s wife.

“That being the situation, there is justification that stems from the public interest that the respondent and the prime minister generates to turn over the information, even if it undermines privacy,” the judge wrote.

Associates of the prime minister and his wife said they were pleased that the court had rejected most of “Caspit’s futile, provocative and bothersome requests. It turns out that even the prime minister’s wife has the right to privacy in her professional work as a child psychologist.”