The wife of the prime minister, Sara Netanyahu, announced Thursday that she intends to appeal the ruling in the lawsuit of her former chief caretaker, Meni Naftali. The announcement, issued by the Netanyahu family, stated that “the labor court determined findings that badly hurt Mrs. Netanyahu, and her blood was spilled by the media while she is innocent of any crime.”
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The Jerusalem Labor Court ruled in favor of Naftali on Wednesday and ordered the state to pay him 170,000 shekels ($42,500) in damages. Judge Dita Pruginin accepted Naftali’s claim that he had been subjected to intolerable employment conditions while at the prime minister’s residence and was entitled to compensation.
The Netanyahu family statement stressed that “Mrs. Netanyahu was not a defendant in the case, and therefore it was impossible for her to bring witnesses and her own evidence that would prove the truth of her words.” Therefore, family lawyers recommended filing an appeal that would include requests to bring witnesses and evidence that would prove, according to them, that the court decision is “mistaken, misguided and far from reality.”
Sara Netanyahu indeed was not a defendant in the lawsuit, so the chances that she can appeal are slim. Prof. Issachar Rosen-Zvi, a civil law expert, told Haaretz that the Supreme Court has ruled that witnesses have no right to appeal because of damage to their reputation.
“The spirit behind the ruling is that one thing the courts are not required to do is rule on the credibility of witnesses in various cases, and that if each one of them could appeal there would be no end to it,” said Rosen-Zvi. “There were two cases in which lawsuits of this kind were accepted, but in opposition to laws dealing with the subject. These are exceptional decisions. It is not a conventional process, and there are not many precedents.