Sara Netanyahu heard calling ex-Shin Bet chief Diskin a ‘moron’ in recording

Tape airs of former PM’s wife complaining that security service only ‘covers its ass,’ ex-aide Hefetz details Yair Netanyahu’s attempts to meddle in sensitive security decisions

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on the night of the Israeli elections, at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on the night of the Israeli elections, at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The wife of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called the former head of the Shin Bet security service “shit” and a “moron” in conversations with a former top aide to the ex-prime minister, in recordings aired by Israeli TV Wednesday.

Sara Netanyahu’s rant against Yuval Diskin, who headed the Shin Bet from 2005 to 2011, apparently came while Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister, according to Channel 13, which broadcast the tape Wednesday night.

The conversation was recorded by Nir Hefetz, a former adviser to the Netanyahu family who has since become a key state witness in the corruption trial against the former prime minister. It had revolved around complaints over security at the Netanyahus’ private residence in Jerusalem, which would have fallen under the purview of the Shin Bet.

“Tell Diskin. How does he decide on things? He’s making me crazy,” she is heard saying.

“What insolence,” she adds after Hefetz points out that her husband had extended Diskin’s tenure. “I know the Shin Bet, believe me, I am a very intelligent woman. I have also been involved in security for 20 years now. You know how they work? They only cover their asses, they only cover their asses, believe me.”

“This Yuval Diskin is impudent. Diskin is shit. He should understand this. They extended his tenure by a year, moron,” she continues.

Former Shin-Bet Director Yuval Diskin speaking at conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the Geneva Initiative, December 4, 2013. (photo credit: Shalom Anasi)

Likud called the recordings “edited” and “biased,” claiming that they had been released by actors “hostile” to the Netanyahu family.

Diskin’s tenure as Shin Bet chief overlapped with Netanyahu’s premiership for over two years after the Likud head took power in early 2009. After stepping down in 2011, Diskin publicly criticized Netanyahu’s handling of the Iranian nuclear threat.

Both Sara Netanyahu and the Netanyahus’ son Yair have been accused in the past of meddling in sensitive security decisions by using their access and influence over the former prime minister.

According to part of an interview with Hefetz also aired by Channel 13, Yair Netanyahu attempted to lean on his father regarding the placement of metal detectors on the Temple Mount in 2017, which had inflamed anger among Palestinians and across the Muslim world.

Nir Hefetz at the Jerusalem District Court, on December 28, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Hefetz said in the interview that during the crisis, a spokesperson for the prime minister told him to go immediately to the Prime Minister’s Residence, as he was the only person the family would listen to, in order to prevent a “disaster.”

“There was heavy pressure from Yair and Sara,” he said, adding that Yair Netanyahu called the premier’s office repeatedly demanding to speak to his father and claiming that his advisers had been put under the influence of the dovish New Israel Fund.

According to Hefetz, during a long meeting with security brass on the crisis, who had reportedly urged the prime minister to remove the metal detectors to lower the flame, Netanyahu stepped out three times to speak to his son.

Hefetz said that Yair Netanyahu “demanded that if you take down the metal detectors at the Temple Mount then you need to take down the metal detectors at the Western Wall.”

Yair Netanyahu, son of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing on a defamation suit filed by the Crime Minister movement, in Tel Aviv, November 29, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Hefetz had earlier alluded to the affair in public testimony during Netanyahu’s trial, noting that it was what had sparked his decision to quit his role with the family. During the trial, he said it had led him to believe Netanyahu was not fit to lead the country, but had not detailed the younger Netanyahu’s role.

Hefetz told Channel 13 that Yair Netanyahu had labeled his father “weak,” complaining that he would have to spend “the coming years watching over his father to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”

In a response, Likud stated that “everything said about Sara and Yair Netanyahu is lies, and not just any lies but recycled and vicious lies.”

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