The reported transcript of a secretly recorded phone call in which Sara Netanyahu lavishes praise upon her husband and fiercely attacks the mayor of Sderot for criticizing the government was published Saturday in Maariv.
The call to former Sderot mayor Eli Moyal’s wife, Monique Ben Melech, was said to have taken place after the Likud party mayor criticized what he saw as the government’s ineffective defense of southern communities during Operation Protective Edge last summer.
Sderot, the main Gaza-periphery town, was pounded by dozens of rockets and mortars fired by Palestinian terrorist groups during the 50-day conflict, and has been the target of regular attacks for a decade. In the July interview, Moyal called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to resign if it couldn’t provide an adequate response to the attacks.
A transcript of the nearly half-hour conversation, snippets of which were run earlier in the week, was published in full by reporter Ben Caspit.
Earlier in the week, prior to the release of the full transcript, Moyal confirmed the existence of the recording and said the decision to go public with the tape was solely that of Ben Melech.
But Moyal told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that he believed 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 [soldiers killed 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.
Sara Netanyahu has made a series of headlines lately, including over accusations of abuse of public funds at the Netanyahus’ residences — allegations that are to be investigated after the March 17 elections.
In the call, Mrs. Netanyahu fiercely defends her husband and lambastes his critics. “[Netanyahu] 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 the former mayor’s wife.
“Where is your man? He doesn’t even come close to being my man! What, has Eli Moyal ever once spoken with a world leader? He isn’t even on the Likud ballot!” she said.
“I go to bereaved families, look them in the eye, I do things and the nation loves me; just now I returned from a meeting at the synagogue and everyone hugged me and the prime minister! It’s a shame, I must say, I hear these voices; there isn’t anyone in the world that will say Eli Moyal is right! Anyone!!” she said.
“My husband does very important things; this war is far more important than [the previous] Operation Cast Lead. There is heavy fighting in tunnels and urban settings. I go to bereaved families, not Eli Moyal. I need to look into the eyes of the mothers that have sent their children into battle! I cry with them!
“To sit like Eli and spout nonsense… [Moyal] is jealous, jealous, jealous, jealous, jealous of him! After all, he will never be Benjamin Netanyahu. Never! There are many who want to be prime minister, but they are not capable. Would anyone in the nation want someone other than [Netanyahu]? Anyone in this entire country? Everyone in the world supports Benjamin Netanyahu! What’s wrong with [Moyal]? What an extreme act of ego!” she raged.
“People in the United States say that if Bibi had been born in America, he could have easily become the president. The whole world admires him,” she asserted, referring to her husband by his nickname.
Prior to speaking with Haaretz, Moyal received a letter from Likud party Director-General Gadi Arieli informing the former mayor that he was officially dismissed from the party after saying in an interview Tuesday that he wouldn’t 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, Moyal’s dismissal was retracted.
“I have no idea why it all happened,” Moyal said 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.”