A secretly recorded phone call, in which Sara Netanyahu allegedly pummels a southern mayor’s wife for her husband’s TV comments criticizing the prime minister, may soon become public.
The call to former Sderot mayor Eli Moyal’s partner, Monique Ben Melech, was reportedly made following a nighttime news appearance by Moyal during Operation Protective Edge last August.
A long-time member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, Moyal called for the government to resign, due to its failure to solve security threats on the Gaza border.
Sderot, the area’s main city, absorbed hundreds of missiles during the summer conflict.
Parts of the conversation, which Moyal claimed goes on for nearly half an hour, was published in August by Israeli journalist Ben Caspit. In his report, Caspit quoted Sara Netanyahu’s late night call in which she glorified the prime minister and attacked Moyal.
“[Netanyahu] is responsible for the entire State of Israel, he sends soldiers to battle, acts with exceptional political savvy, reads heaps of books, understands economics, understands security, has academic degrees, is knowledgeable in literature, knows how to speak to world leaders,” Sara Netanyahu reportedly told Ben Melech.
“Who is this Eli Moyal of yours, did he ever do anything? He will never be Bibi,” she continued, using her husband’s nickname.
“Your man doesn’t reach my man’s ankles. What made him say those things? Pure jealousy,” Netanyahu said.
She allegedly suggested that “if Bibi was born in the United States, he could have easily become the president. The whole world admires him.”
Moyal confirmed Wednesday that the recording does indeed exist, though he made clear the decision whether to go public with it lays in the hands of Ben Melech.
But he added that people to whom he played the recording recently may also have copies.
The phone call would be the latest headache for the Netanyahus, after a series of spending scandals focused attention on the prime minister’s family, and specifically Sara Netanyahu, in recent weeks.
Moyal told Israeli newspaper Haaretz Wednesday that he believes the recording should be made public. “The nation needs to hear what was on the prime minister’s wife’s mind, on the day we buried four of our finest [fatalities in the summer war with Hamas], just after midnight: Eli Moyal from Sderot, who uttered a few words about her husband. It drove her crazy,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, Moyal received a letter from Likud Director Gadi Arieli, telling the former mayor he was officially ousted from the party. This was following an interview he gave Tuesday, during which he said he would not be voting Likud in the upcoming elections.
Moyal and several other prominent Likud members told political blogger Tal Schneider they had held meetings with a number of party leaders in an effort to find a new political home.
But several hours after the letter was sent, it was retracted, drawing widespread speculation that party officials fear the phone call recording may be made public.
“I have no idea why it all happened,” Moyal told Haaretz of his expulsion from and rapid return to Likud. “I received a letter and was called in for a hearing. I told them in advance that I accept their verdict. I don’t want to be part of a party that doesn’t accept people like me.”