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Sara Netanyahu accused of physically attacking house staff

Former employee says Israeli PM’s wife forced her to work in ‘disgraceful, inhuman conditions’

    Sara Netanyahu
    Sara Netanyahu Getty Images

    The Israeli prime minister’s wife has been accused of physically attacking a former employee demanding nearly £50,000 in compensation.

    The employee, identified in the Israeli media only as SR, has filed a claim of abusive employment against Sara Netanyahu.

    According to the lawsuit filed with the Jerusalem Labour Court she has demanded 225,000 shekels (£48,400) in compensation.

    SR reported being ordered by Ms Netanyahu to unpack a suitcase filled with shoes and being subsequently accused of stealing a pair. Ms Netanyahu tried to attack her in a fit of anger, she claimed, adding that she tendered her resignation following the altercation.

    The lawsuit contains allegations from SR that she was forced to work under “disgraceful, inhuman conditions, a hostile working environment, threatening and demeaning conditions.” She claims that employees were not allowed to use the toilet in the residence, take breaks to eat and drink, or to take any leave or sick-days.

    She gave evidence to the police on Sunday, although it was not clear whether an official investigation had been opened.

    It was the latest in a series of complaints by former employees in the Netanyahu household going back two decades. Nannies, cleaners, cooks and housekeepers have accused Ms Netanyahu of having excessive demands, an “extreme obsession” for cleanliness and fits of rage when she accused employees of not following her orders and “stealing.”

    Previous cases have been settled out of court, while former housekeeper Meni Naftali brought a lawsuit against the state, which employed her, and won compensation.

    Ms Netanyahu herself was indicted in September for conspiring to defraud the public purse by ordering meals from gourmet restaurants in Jerusalem, beyond the official allocation for hospitality at the prime minister’s residence.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded on behalf of his wife, writing on his Facebook page that the lawsuit “is a frivolous and ridiculous claim,” and “a blackmail attempt by an employee who worked for a few days and is supported by [Israeli newspaper] Yedioth Ahronoth.”

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