Sara Netanyahu Denies Mistreating Her Housekeeper

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara submitted a letter of defense to the Tel Aviv Labor Court yesterday in which she flatly denied accusations she had mistreated and underpaid her housekeeper.

The former employee, Lillian Peretz, charged that Sara Netanyahu had "humiliated" her, occasionally shouting and insisting she change clothes during the working day to meet exacting demands for hygiene. Peretz also sought compensation for being underpaid.

"The lawsuit is filled with complaints fabricated for present need and have no actual substance," Sara Netanyahu wrote. In the six years Peretz worked for them, said Netanyahu, she received nothing but "warmth and love." According to the letter, Peretz said many times: "I came because of Bibi, I stayed because of Sara."

Sara Netanyahu said Peretz left the job at her own initiative.

Netanyahu also quoted a note Peretz apparently sent the couple following the most recent Knesset elections. "Dear family! Congratulations and good luck! I am so proud of you, you have no idea. Love you the most in the world. Lillian."

Pay slips that Peretz, submitted show that her basic monthly wage ranged from NIS 2,550 to NIS 3,060. Peretz also submitted evidence that her wages and benefits at a manpower agency were considerably better than when she worked for the Netanyahus. With them NIS 50 to NIS 60 was deducted from her wage for national insurance. She was not paid for transportation, overtime or working on the Sabbath. The agency paid her a basic wage of NIS 5,000, well above the minimum wage of NIS 3,850. It added payment for overtime, transportation and working on weekends.