Prosecutors said examining new claims of employee abuse by Sara Netanyahu

PM’s wife is alleged to have forced workers to stay extra hours at official residence without pay, work on Shabbat; officials said considering whether to launch formal probe

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, arrives for a meeting in Paris, France, June 6, 2018. (AP/Francois Mori)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, arrives for a meeting in Paris, France, June 6, 2018. (AP/Francois Mori)

The state prosecution is examining new testimonies relating to alleged ill-treatment of employees at the Prime Minister’s residence by Sara Netanyahu, and will consider whether to recommend a criminal investigation against her, Channel 13 news reported Thursday night.

The TV station reported that Shlomit Barnea Farago, legal counsel at the Prime Minister’s Office, has notified the attorney general of claims that the prime minister’s wife abused employees, led them to work illegal hours and made false reports.

According to a Channel 12 report earlier this year, several cleaning workers at the residence reported being forced to work overtime without pay, as well as being forced to work on Shabbat, mandated by law as a day of rest.

According to the claims, Netanyahu would have employees officially sign out at proper hours in the books, while forcing them to continue their work without any extra pay.

The Attorney General’s Office said it had received the complaints and was looking into them.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the claims “more false, vicious, recycled slander.” He said such employee testimonies alleging ill-treatment by Sara Netanyahu — of which there have been many over the years — were based on “finding a small number of disgruntled employees who were fired out of the hundreds who have worked at the Prime Minister’s residence over the years and asking them to defame Mrs. Netanyahu.”

Several former employees have claimed mistreatment and abuse by the prime minister’s wife. The official residence’s former caretaker successfully sued her for verbal and emotional abuse, as did another former worker.

In June, Netanyahu was convicted of misusing public funds as part of a plea deal in a case involving allegations she illegally procured catering services at the Prime Minister’s residence.

The agreement saw Netanyahu escape a conviction of aggravated fraud, but confess to a lesser charge of taking advantage of a mistake. She was ordered to pay NIS 55,000 ($15,210) — NIS 10,000 as a fine, and the rest as restitution.

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