Report: PM’s wife wanted state to pay for son to watch ‘Big Brother’
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Report: PM’s wife wanted state to pay for son to watch ‘Big Brother’

Former adviser Nir Hefetz said to tell investigators Sara Netanyahu ‘exhausted the system’ with incessant demands for coverage of homes’ expenses

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on January 22, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on January 22, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hadashot news on Friday night revealed details from the testimony of a former media adviser to the Netanyahu family on Sara Netanyahu’s alleged misappropriation of public funds at the family’s residences.

Nir Hefetz, who in March became a state’s witness against the prime minister, gave full details on his knowledge of the case to police as part of his deal.

Hefetz said he was often privy to Sara Netanyahu’s arguments with the Prime Minister’s Office’s legal council and accountant, as they pushed back on her recurring efforts to have the state cover the homes’ expenses.

“Sarah sometimes used me too in order to [have me] convince them to approve expenses,” he reportedly said. “I’m talking about dozens of cases… It was a Sisyphean struggle.”

Former media adviser to the prime minister Nir Hefetz arrives for a remand hearing in Case 4000 at the Tel Aviv District Court, February 22, 2018 (Flash90)

One detail — if true — appeared particularly petty, with the premier’s wife allegedly demanding “that the state pay NIS 10 ($2.8) for the ‘Big Brother’ [24/7 live feed] channel” in son Yair’s room at the family’s private home in Caesarea.

“She wanted to replace all the windows at the Caesarea home, because someone might shoot the prime minister,” Hefetz said. “She wanted to replace all the plaster at the villa, asserting that a piece of plaster could fall on the prime minister’s head.

Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court in Tel Aviv on June 5, 2018. (Flash90)

“There are many more examples, there was a wealth of incidents that exhausted the system,” Hefetz said according to Hadashot.

In response the Netanyahu family said, “We cannot on a Friday evening, shortly before the newscast, respond to such a heap of gossip and lies.”

The prime minister’s wife was indicted Thursday along with Ezra Saidoff, a former deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, with fraud along with breach of trust. The two are accused of fraudulently charging some NIS 359,000 ($100,000) in gourmet meals to the state’s expense between 2010 and 2013, violating laws that ban the ordering of prepared food when a chef is already employed at the official residence.

She has denied any wrongdoing in the case.

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