Meni Naftali, the former caretaker of the Prime Minister’s Residence, wins a libel lawsuit against a series of ex-premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s associates.
Naftali, who went from being an employee of Netanyahu to one of his most prominent critics, will be paid approximately NIS 170,000 by associates of the former prime minister’s associates over their public statements against him, the Herzliya Magistrate’s Court rules.
The ruling comes more than six years after Naftali filed his original complaint, in a case that dragged on and included testimony from Sara Netanyahu. The libel suit was based on statements made blaming Naftali for excessive spending at the Prime Minister’s Residence by the Netanyahus, which was revealed in a 2015 state comptroller’s report slamming the couple for the outlandish expenses.
Judge Gilad Hess rules that Naftali, Sara Netanyahu and former aide Ezra Saidoff all shared responsibility for the excessive spending, and that attempts to blame Naftali alone are libelous.
“I found that not only did those sued not prove that [Naftali] was an unreliable person and a liar,” writes Hess in his ruling. “The evidence shows that Naftali is a reliable person… His actions in ordering food were not done with the intention of deceiving or lying, but with the intention of pleasing his superiors, in particular Saidoff and Mrs. Netanyahu.”