PM’s wife, in court battle, says ex-housekeeper is a liar who was lousy at her job

Even when my son found dead cockroaches in the shower, we didn’t bother her about it, Sara Netanyahu testifies

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Sara Netanyahu arrives at the district Labor Court in Haifa on Sunday, July 15 (photo credit: Avishag Shar-Yashuv/Flash90)
Sara Netanyahu arrives at the district Labor Court in Haifa on Sunday, July 15 (photo credit: Avishag Shar-Yashuv/Flash90)

The prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, testifying in a Haifa court on Sunday, accused her former housekeeper of lying.

“The house was never clean enough,” Netanyahu told the court, but the former helper was temperamental and thus the family didn’t want to argue with her. “Also, when my son found lots of dead cockroaches in the shower, I told him not to bother her,” she said.

Lilian Peretz, who was the housekeeper at the Netanyahus’ Caesarea home, sued Netanyahu in 2010 for mistreating her during her time of employment. Peretz claimed Netanyahu forced her to work on Shabbat, subjected her to an exceedingly heavy workload, and paid her a salary lower than minimum wage.

When Peretz’s lawyer hinted Netanyahu might be saying half-truths or lying, the prime minister’s wife lashed out.

“The only person who’s been lying for two years is Lilian Peretz,” she said, reminding those present that there was a second, separate, trial going on, in which she was suing Peretz for slander.

In court on Sunday, Netanyahu dismissed her ex-employee’s claims and said Peretz was always treated fairly. “On Shabbat, my friends and I would wash the dishes,” she said. She added Peretz didn’t even know when the family had entertained guests over the weekend.

Netanyahu also said Peretz had received financial help beyond her paycheck. “I gave her thousands of shekels,” Netanyahu said. “Once when her car broke down she asked to borrow money.” In that instance, she refused to take the cash as a present, said Netanyahu, but in others, Peretz did take cash gifts “which I’d give her from time to time.”

Peretz had been allowed time off and plenty of vacation, sometimes “telling us she would be on leave, without asking us ahead of time if it was convenient for us or not,” she said. Peretz “spent three weeks in Morocco, went to Turkey twice,” and also spent time in Eilat, Netanyahu said.

A secretary who worked for Netanyahu at the same time as Peretz told the court the two had been on good terms. The secretary denied Peretz’s claims that she was forced to call her employer “Mrs. Netanyahu,” and said “all the employees, including Peretz, called her by her first name.”

The case continues.

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