The former caretaker at the Prime Minister’s Residence on Wednesday told a labor court that the wife of the premier, Sara Netanyahu, drinks “crazy amounts” of alcohol and would polish off three bottles of champagne a day. The prime minister’s family dismissed the allegations.
Menny Naftali made the assertion during a cross-examination session. He is suing the Netanyahus and the Prime Minister’s Office for NIS 1.1 million ($278,600) in a labor dispute over alleged abuse during his term.
“When I met Mrs. Netanyahu as a security guard, I didn’t know that she drinks crazy amounts of alcohol,” Naftali told the Jerusalem Labor Court. “When I [later] became the house manager I found out that she drinks about three bottles of champagne a day.”
Naftali alleged a campaign of harassment against him that began after he filed for compensation.
“I am going through a very difficult period; they dragged my name through the mud and I am here first of all to clear my name,” he said. “This is not a normal trial of employment laws. I will say things and the truth will prevail.”
Before the hearing, Judge Dita Proginin made a last-ditch effort to reach an agreement and invited both parties to her office, but failed to broker a compromise.
The Netanyahu family on Wednesday dismissed Naftali’s claims out of hand.
“The baseless lies, slander and defamation related by Naftali about the wife of the prime minister are scandalous and nothing less,” the family said. “Naftali is taking advantage of the fact that he can’t be sued for libel and defamation over things said in the witness box, and he is continuing with his campaign to tarnish Mrs. Netanyahu with the aim of unjustly extracting money from the state and harming the prime minister and his family. After the truth becomes clear in the court, all of his claims will be shown to have been nonsense.”
In January, two former employees of Netanyahu’s official household accused his wife, Sara, of regularly abusing them verbally and flying into rages after drinking alcohol.
Testimonies to the Jerusalem Labor Court by Guy Eliyahu and Emmanuel Sela alleged that their rights were routinely infringed upon while they were employed by the couple at the official household.
In the testimonies, the former employees claimed that Sara Netanyahu terrorized personnel at the residence and established an atmosphere of fear, especially after she would consume copious amounts of alcohol.
“I remember vividly the mood swings that led to yelling, humiliations and [generally] inappropriate behavior on the part of Mrs. Netanyahu toward me and others at the household,” wrote Eliyahu, adding that this led to an “atmosphere of fear among the employees, who were afraid of being victims of minor incidents that would escalate into difficult, rage-filled outbursts, especially after she would drink large amounts of alcohol that I and others would bring to her room daily.”
Ten current and former employees have since submitted depositions to the court dispelling Naftali’s claims of abuse by the Netanyahus.
In February Naftali testified at the police’s Lahav 433 fraud investigation unit for a marathon 11-hour session against the Netanyahus after receiving limited immunity from prosecution. He reportedly provided documents and recordings detailing alleged financial improprieties by the couple at the official residence.
A spending report released by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira in February detailed lavish spending by Netanyahu and his wife and alleged possible criminal misdeeds by the two.