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Recording of Sara Netanyahu Screaming Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

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Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2018.
Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2018.Credit: Denis Balibouse / Reuters

A small and innocent media report, favorable and bearing no malice, appeared in a gossip column. Such items are routine in the life of a public official. A reasonable person feels a bit of satisfaction, but a problem person gets angry if the piece doesn’t mention his or her profession (even when that profession is totally irrelevant to the story).

Alas, Sara Netanyahu marches to a different tune, one that includes throwing a fit and losing one's wits. The decibels endanger the eardrums of the person standing across from her. The gates of heaven close and the angels look for a place to hide. All this over a trivial matter.

Again and again in recent years – basically over the last two decades – we’ve heard from people whose fate made them employees of that house of horrors, the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem. We’ve heard about this lady’s volcanic outbursts. The issue also appears in a lawsuit now in the courts filed by a former employee, Shira Raban.

The public had never realized the scale of the madness. It’s only natural that such reports were previously considered exaggerations, the results of a wild imagination and a desire to hurt this friendly woman, a psy-cho-lo-gis-t! These reports were also, obviously, an attempt to damage the right-wing government and the Likud party. And now we suddenly catch a tiny glimpse that tells the whole story.

The few seconds broadcast on the Walla News website are but the tip of the iceberg. First, the exchange (if one can call an exchange this fury that sometimes sounds animal-like) lasted more than 20 minutes. On the receiving end was the family’s media adviser, Shaya Segal (who died last year). His sin consisted of the gossip columnist’s editor not copying the press release in its entirety, omitting the word “psychologist.”

Sara Netanyahu's recording (Hebrew)

Second, Segal wasn’t only a paid consultant – probably a salary that never got paid – he was a close friend. One may assume he sent the story to the gossip column because Sara asked him to. The nature of their relationship didn’t spare him the bloodcurdling screaming and malicious berating.

If this was the lot of the good-natured Segal, who was considerably older than Sara Netanyahu, why would the rank-and-file employees, with their constant turnover, receive more courteous treatment? They didn’t. This was the daily ration of generations of employees who later went to court over their mistreatment. It’s likely the current staff is subject to the same.

Third, the latest recording returns us to the question hanging over the prime minister’s residence every time testimonies break the wall of silence and are totally denied: Benjamin Netanyahu’s work environment. How can the busiest prime minister on the globe relax at home with this kind of helpmate? If a trivial matter such as a gossip column sets off such an earthquake, what happens when the media looks into the investigations into Sara herself, into the strip-club recording of their son Yair, or the corruption investigations into her husband?

What tantrums and sleepless nights is he subjected to (there are always bags under his eyes) amid the investigations into his tycoon-funded flights, the alleged malfeasance at the residence and other shameful behavior by Sara, incidents that keep getting worse over the years?

“We went through a course in terror” Naftali Bennett said once after serving as Netanyahu’s chief of staff; he was referring to the wife of the then-opposition leader. “Terror” as defined in the dictionary is a pretty accurate description of what can be heard on the recording just released by Walla.

So the debate around the legitimacy of broadcasting this tape misses the point. It’s meant, in a transparent and unintelligent way, to deflect attention from the huge problem at the prime minister’s residence. This problem has a name and a look, but it’s certainly not first-ladylike.

Against the backdrop of the lawsuits against Sara Netanyahu for her bullying behavior and humiliations of people, amid the unacceptable employment conditions, this videotape is extremely relevant. There are more tapes floating around. Walla has opened the gates. It’s time for further righteous people to come forth and walk through them.

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