Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a recent interview that Israeli media was engaged in an “aggressive” and “abusive” campaign against her family.
Ahead of the March general election, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily published a series of unflattering stories about Netanyahu and his wife, leading the prime minister to accuse the paper of slander. He said then that the paper was engaged in a smear campaign against the Likud government in order to bring about a change in power.
In an interview with Nashim magazine for Rosh Hashanah, parts of which were aired by Channel 2 Monday night, Sara said the “aggressive and violent means used by the media to incite people against the elected prime minister and his family are blatant abuse.”
She also said the publisher of Yedioth, Arnon “Nuni” Mozes, should apologize to her and her family for attacking her family in the publication.
“Our people do not need such foulness and maliciousness,” she said. “Are there no limits? Is there no respect?”
Netanyahu added that “for years the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth has sought to tarnish my image. People who meet me for the first time find it hard to believe that this is the same woman they read about in the paper.”
The premier and his wife have been scrutinized amid persistent allegations of a lavish lifestyle funded by the state.
The two were criticized after a 2013 report uncovered the Netanyahus received an annual budget of 10,000 shekels ($2,568) for buying ice cream from a high-end gelateria near the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.
They also came under fire in a scandal dubbed Bottlegate after the prime minister’s wife was accused of bilking the state out of NIS 24,000 by pocketing the refunds from bottle deposits during the first four years of her husband’s time in office.
The couple was also alleged to have spent NIS 100,000 ($25,679) of taxpayer money on alcohol in a two-year period, a claim derided by the Likud party at the time as part of a left-wing plot “to bring down the prime minister.”
Meanwhile, the transcript of a 2014 phone conversation in which Sara Netanyahu lavishes praise upon her husband and fiercely attacks the mayor of Sderot was a source of further embarrassment upon its release in March.