A freshman Labor Party legislator alleged Wednesday that the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, violated work laws. According to the charge, she hired a woman for the prime minister’s official residence on condition that she commit to refrain from marriage in the near future.
The Prime Minister’s Office later denied the allegation as baseless, and a lawyer for Sara Netanyahu threatened legal action if an apology was not immediately forthcoming.
During a Knesset session on equal opportunities for women in the workplace, MK Miki Rosenthal related a chain of events that he said had unfolded “in recent weeks at the prime minister’s house.”
“A women was accepted to work as a cook” after passing all the required screening procedures, said Rosenthal, a former investigative journalist, noting that he knew the woman’s identity but was respecting her request not to reveal it. But then, “the prime minister’s wife told her, ‘I’ll hire you if you commit to not get married in the next three years,’” he said.
When others in the room laughed, Rosenthal admonished them, saying the story wasn’t funny and was in fact “a violation of the law.” He called on the Attorney General’s Office to investigate.
The Prime Minister’s Office denied any wrongdoing on the part of Sara Netanyahu.
“It’s all a blatant lie; these things never happened,” read a response from the Prime Minister’s Office. “It’s a shame that Miki Rosenthal is joining the national sport of slandering Mrs. Netanyahu for news headlines.”
The woman in question had not only been accepted to work, but was in fact already married with children, the statement said.
Following the strong response from the PMO, Likud MK Gila Gamliel, a deputy minister in the outgoing Cabinet, lodged a complaint against Rosenthal with the Knesset Ethics Committee.
The Labor lawmaker had “made cynical use of his status and immunity, and in doing so turned the arena of public debate into an arena of lawless slandering, in which people can be sullied and slandered,” Gamliel alleged in her complaint.
Rosenthal said later he would not be silenced by threats.
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