'Unorthodox' Work or Extortion? PM's Household in the News Again

PM's Office: It is our obligation to safeguard the public's money and your threats will not cause us to pay out that money unlawfully.

A former employee of the prime minister's household who demanded compensation for doing "unorthodox" work has released a statement clarifying that he never intended to threaten the prime minister or his family, Israel National News reported on Tuesday.

The former employee, described as the "head of the household" in the Hebrew press, had accused the household of violating the terms of his working conditions and demanded 200,000 shekels (approximately $57,000) in compensation.

He claimed that he was ordered to perform jobs not included in the work agreement, including being forced to work extra hours with little to no pay, according to Yisrael HaYom. The report noted that the Prime Minister's Office had offered the former employee full compensation for any missing wages and an additional 50,000 NIS ($14,243) settlement, but the employee had refused to take it.

Channel 2 reported Monday night that the disgruntled employee is due to meet with the State Comptroller to hand over "embarrassing" information against the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife. He is also considering filing a claim with the Labor Court over the sum, according to the report.

The PMO issued a response Monday saying: "The PMO sent the former employee's attorney a letter, dated January 12, 2014, reading, 'We hereby reject your threats. We understand that the background of those threats is the political standing of the Prime Minister and the attempt to use it to your client's advantage, but it is our obligation to safeguard the public's money and your threats will not cause us to pay out that money unlawfully,'"

The PMO noted that the employee was a temporary worker, under contract from February 2011 to November 2012.

A confidante of the prime minister described the employee's demand as "extortion."

The prime minister and his wife have often come under fire for allegedly wasting the Israeli taxpayers' money - from the airplane bed that was built for them at a cost of $127,000 to the NIS 3.3 million ($940,000) cost of maintaining their three residences in 2013, NIS 1.2 million above budget.