Another ex-employee accuses PM’s wife of abusive behavior

Gil Eliyahu claims Sara Netanyahu ordered him to perform menial tasks in the middle of the night; PMO dismisses allegations

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife, Sara, in an undated photo (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/Flash90, File)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife, Sara, in an undated photo (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/Flash90, File)

Less than a month after the former house manager of the prime minister’s residence filed a lawsuit alleging abusive conduct on the part of Sara Netanyahu, another past employee came forward with new claims against the prime minister’s wife.

According to Channel 10, Gil Eliyahu, who worked as an aide to Menny Naftali, the former house manager, will submit a lawsuit against the prime minister’s office claiming he was humiliated at work and not paid for overtime hours.

Among Eliyahu’s complaints are two instances in which he was summoned by Mrs. Netanyahu in the middle of the night. “The plaintiff was required to return to the prime minister’s residence, only to find that he had to warm up a bowl of soup for Mrs. Netanyahu.”

“You’ll return whenever I want to eat,” she allegedly told Eliyahu.

He was also ordered back to the residence in the middle of the night for not wishing Mrs. Netanyahu a good night. “You have to say good night to me before you go,” she allegedly scolded him.

In another incident, Eliyahu claims that Sara Netanyahu exploded with rage after she felt that an outdoor table had become dusty. “Mrs. Netanyahu shouted loudly and demanded that the plaintiff gather all the dishes and the tablecloth and set the table again. Other family members present tried to calm her down, but it was for naught. Fuming, Mrs. Netanyahu grabbed the tablecloth, pulled it off and gathered it up along with the dishes, some of which fell on the ground. Mrs. Netanyahu demanded that the plaintiff set the table from scratch.”

Eliyahu also alleged that Sara Netanyahu said he was not “elegant” enough, and that she would imitate him to other workers.

Sources close to the Netanyahus categorically denied the allegations. “This is the continuation of an organized, synchronized campaign in which embittered former workers in the prime minister’s residence are enlisted, promising them their 15 minutes of fame with the goal of squeezing concessions from the prime minister’s office, while viciously smearing the prime minister’s wife in order to harm him politically,” Channel 2 quoted the sources saying.

Eliyahu’s allegations are similar to those Neftali, his former boss, described in his March complaint against the Netanyahus. 

In a complaint filed with Jerusalem’s Labor Court, Neftali provided extensive descriptions of humiliation, racist remarks and angry fits that he allegedly suffered at the hands of Mrs. Netanyahu, reported Channel 2.

Neftali also alleged that the Netanyahus did not meet certain financial obligations regarding his employment and that he was not compensated for irregular hours or workdays, according to the report.

Menny Neftali (photo credit: screenshot via Channel 2)
Menny Neftali (photo credit: screenshot via Channel 2)

Among the instances cited in the complaint, Neftali recounts how Mrs. Netanyahu once woke him up at 3 a.m. to yell at him for buying milk in a bag, not a carton. When he noted the hour and the first lady’s tone, he was allegedly told, by the prime minister himself, to comply with all of Mrs. Netanyahu’s wishes “so that she calms down.”

In another incident described in the complaint, Mrs. Netanyahu came into a room and saw that a vase was filled with flowers that were not fresh. According to Neftali, she knocked the vase to the ground while yelling at him and telling him that he was a bad house manager, and that “something like that would not happen in the Elysee Palace.”

The Netanyahus had reportedly been negotiating with Neftali for the past year in an effort to avoid the legal action.

“During the 20 months that Mr. Neftali was employed at the prime minister’s residence, 29 employees ended their employment there, and not in a positive way,” the complaint stated. “It became clear that the major and significant source of the bleak atmosphere at the prime minister’s residence was the reckless behavior of Mrs. Netanyahu, who demands of residence employees personal services day and night, and makes unreasonable demands, accompanied by disparagement toward the workers that serve her.”

When asked about the impending complaint last month in an interview with Channel 2, the prime minister dismissed the allegations made by Neftali, pointing the blame at the media for giving such drivel a platform.

In a statement Wednesday, the PMO called the latest lawsuit a case of “evil, skewed gossip, designed to taint the prime minister and his wife in order to gain unjustified financial benefit.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report. 

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