A labor court on Tuesday gave a former worker in the Prime Minister’s Residence three weeks to refile her claim in an abuse lawsuit filed against Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife.
Judge Eyal Avrahami said that for the case to proceed, the charges had to be presented afresh to the Jerusalem Regional Labor Court. He demanded that the offensive language used to describe other employees of the residence be struck from the suit, particular the term “slave.” He also said that all “irrelevant” information must be removed from the paperwork.
Netanyahu’s lawyer had asked that her name be removed from the case, as she was not the employer but rather the Prime Minister’s Residence was. However, the judge ruled that he would only consider that request once the paperwork had been refiled.
The complainant, Shira Raban, is a 24-year-old ultra-Orthodox mother of three who recently worked as a cleaner at the residence for a month.
The NIS 225,000 ($64,000) lawsuit details how Israel’s first lady allegedly insulted the young staffer relentlessly throughout her short tenure at the Prime Minister’s Residence.
The lawsuit charges that during the staffer’s initial job interview with Netanyahu, she was asked if she owned a car because arriving late would be “the end of the world” from her boss’s perspective. In addition, Netanyahu told the prospective cleaner that she liked workers who “run.”
“That’s why I don’t hire fat women,” Netanyahu allegedly said.
The prime minister’s wife then told the complainant that she would be working with another employee but forbade the two to speak with one another, the lawsuit charged.
Among the former employee’s complaints were not being allowed to take leave when one of her children was sick, and being forced to use the bathroom outside the main building.
She also claimed that the prime minister’s oldest son, Yair Netanyahu, would conduct cleanliness inspections.
Netanyahu allegedly forbade the former staffer to eat, drink, or rest, and she was required to change her clothes dozens of times a day. She was also required to wash her hands about 100 times a day with hot water, and was expected to wipe them with a towel separate from the one used by the Netanyahu family, the lawsuit charged.
Several former employees have claimed mistreatment by the prime minister’s wife.
The Netanyahus deny any wrongdoing, dismissing allegations as a political witch hunt by hostile media.
“Shira Raban and her desperate lawyers continue trying to slander Mrs. Netanyahu with their wicked and recycled lies. Shira Raban is trying to extort an astronomical sum of about a quarter of a million shekels for less than a month’s work at the Prime Minister’s Residence, during which she only spent a few hours with Mrs. Netanyahu,” the family said in a statement responding to a news report.
Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.