Opinion

Sara Netanyahu, the Israeli Prosecutors' Favorite

The leniency her misinformation receives is extraordinary. The prosecution's silence will only encourage anyone charged with perjury to rise up against this selective enforcement.

Sara Netanyahu in the Israeli parliament, February 1, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

David Rozen, a retired Tel Aviv District Court judge, expressed his approach to high-level corruption in the Holyland case in a way that blocked his path to the Supreme Court or the attorney general’s chair. As the new ombudsman for complaints against prosecutors, he can battle the corruption in the legal system if he investigates the leniency toward Sara Netanyahu, the prosecutors’ favorite.

The authority to indict prime ministers is reserved for the attorney general, no one lower. There’s no justification to discriminate in favor of the husband or wife of a prime minister.

If Sara Netanyahu is a private citizen, why should the attorney general decide on her case? And alternatively, even though she may seem like a public servant, she’s not the prime minister (at least officially). So her case should be handled by the district prosecutor without the compassionate protection that the state prosecutor and his superior the attorney general, both the current one and his predecessor, have granted her.

The bottles of champagne that arrived at the Netanyahu’s residence were handled with government resources: cars, employees and time. The same goes for their little brothers, the recycled bottles, whose deposit money – totaling 4,000 shekels ($1,070) at least – Sara put in her pocket before she was forced to return it to the treasury. She doesn’t receive a government salary, but the prime minister’s aides and employees at the official residence were under her orders.

The State Prosecutor’s Office keeps perjury indictments to a minimum because it’s natural that the accused’s denials don’t express the pure truth. This justification isn’t supposed to apply to witnesses who obstruct justice.

The affidavit and oral testimony of the witness Sara Netanyahu in the civil suit filed by Meni Naftali and Guy Eliyahu against the Prime Minister’s Office and others demolished her testimony on many matters. This included the issue of how much she drank and whether she hit Eti Haim, who like Naftali and Eliyahu once worked at the residence. The prosecution’s silence will only encourage anyone charged with perjury to rise up against this selective enforcement.

The alternative facts accompanied Sara Netanyahu all the way to the PMO’s website, which devotes a boastful page in great detail to her life history, studies, work, achievements and family over the generations.

Until last June, Sara Netanyahu was described on that page – in a sentence devoted to her work since 2000 – as a “clinical child psychologist.” Someone who saw this told the site’s editors that this was deceptive, on the border of being criminal misrepresentation. After all, her certification, number 27-28291, is as an educational psychologist, not a clinical psychologist.

His protest was answered with skepticism because, amid the praise, such a detailed time line of all her activities since her youth, with an emphasis on her gradual advancement in psychology, could apparently only have been written by a person who knows Sara very well, as well as she knows herself.

The Prime Minister’s Office passed the issue on to the family’s spokesman, who heard a triple denial from the woman herself: She did not write her résumé and she has not read the page on the website; she didn’t even know it existed. Her reception of a title she didn’t deserve was “an innocent technical mistake,” said the spokesman, and she was grateful for the surprising revelation.

The technicians who made the mistakes remained anonymous. The words “clinical” and “child psychologist” were removed. It’s as it was with the bottles: When you’re caught, pay up or rewrite.

“Sara Netanyahu returned to her clinical work as a child psychologist with the Psychological Service of the Jerusalem Municipality.  She is a career psychologist and holds a regular day job,” states the corrected page in English.

Almost a regular day job, because sometimes she’s in London, Washington or an interrogation room of the police’s fraud squad. The city recently reminded its employees that the civil service law (on accepting gifts) applied to them too when the gift givers are suppliers or city residents.

More serious are the delays in the Jerusalem district prosecutor’s decision on whether to file indictments in the case of the prime minister’s residences. Too many incidents, too much leniency. Rozen better take a look at what’s going on there at the prosecutor’s office.