Sara Netanyahu ex-employee: She screamed at me, ‘You’re a lump of nothing’

Shira Raban, who filed a $64,000 abuse lawsuit against PM’s wife, says she did not merely ‘leave’ the residence, but ‘ran as fast as I could’

Raoul Wootliff is a former Times of Israel political correspondent and Daily Briefing podcast producer.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara Netanyahu, is seen at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, on October 13, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara Netanyahu, is seen at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, on October 13, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

A former worker in the Prime Minister’s Residence, who filed an abuse lawsuit recently against Sara Netanyahu, said she feared for her safety while working for the prime minister’s wife.

“I do not know what would have happened if I had stayed there another minute,” Shira Raban said in an interview with Hadashot news (formerly Channel 2) that aired Saturday evening.

“The last time the missus screamed at me she told me, ‘You’re a lump of nothing. You don’t understand anything, you don’t hear.’ She screamed it at the top of her lungs. I was very hurt,” Raban recounted.

“I did not just leave, I ran away as fast as I could,” said the 24-year-old ultra-Orthodox mother of three, who worked as a cleaner for one month in the Netanyahus’ Jerusalem residence earlier this year.

Raban told Hadashot news of one instance after the Yom Kippur holiday in which the prime minister’s wife threw a fit because the cleaning staff did not show up for work on the eve of the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Netanyahu shouted threats at Raban, waving her hands wildly as she got closer and closer to her, the ex-staffer claimed.

Raban also said that if any one of the cleaning staff broke something or stained a piece of cloth, Netanyahu would demand that they buy an exact replacement.

“She didn’t care what it cost or where it was from. If you told her you didn’t want to buy it, she’d deduct it from your pay.”

Raban added that Netanyahu would restrain herself whenever her husband was in earshot.

“The missus was smart enough to behave very differently towards us when he was around and when he wasn’t,” she said.

Late last month, police took testimony regarding Raban’s complaints, and also probed other witnesses in order to corroborate her story.

The NIS 225,000 ($64,000) lawsuit details how Sara Netanyahu allegedly insulted the young staffer relentlessly throughout her short tenure at the Prime Minister’s Residence.

The lawsuit charges that during the staffer’s initial job interview with Sara Netanyahu, she was asked if she owned a car because arriving late would be “the end of the world” from her boss’s perspective. In addition, Netanyahu told the prospective cleaner that she liked workers who “run.”

“That’s why I don’t hire fat women,” Netanyahu allegedly said.

The prime minister’s wife then told the complainant that she would be working with another employee but the two were forbidden from speaking with one another, the lawsuit charged.

The former employee also said she was not allowed to take leave at all, even if one of her children was sick, and was forced to use the bathroom outside the main building.

She also claimed that the prime minister’s oldest son, Yair Netanyahu, would conduct cleanliness inspections.

Netanyahu allegedly forbade the former staffer from eating, drinking, or resting, and she was required to change her clothes dozens of times a day. She was also required to wash her hands about 100 times a day with hot water, and was expected to wipe them with a towel separate from the one used by the Netanyahu family, the lawsuit charged.

Several former employees have claimed mistreatment by the prime minister’s wife.

The Netanyahus deny any wrongdoing, dismissing allegations as a political witch hunt by hostile media.

“Shira Raban and her desperate lawyers continue trying to slander Mrs. Netanyahu with their wicked and recycled lies. Shira Raban is trying to extort an astronomical sum of about a quarter of a million shekels for less than a month’s work at the Prime Minister’s Residence, during which she only spent a few hours with Mrs. Netanyahu,” the family said in a statement responding to the Hadashot news report.

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