State prosecutor to support indicting Sara Netanyahu — report
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State prosecutor to support indicting Sara Netanyahu — report

Unclear in what case prosecutors reportedly seeking to charge PM’s wife, who is suspected of misusing state funds for food, caretaker

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara visits cancer patients and their parents at a protest tent in Jerusalem's Sacher Park on June 15, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara visits cancer patients and their parents at a protest tent in Jerusalem's Sacher Park on June 15, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan will reportedly support indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara, who is suspected of wrongdoing in at least two separate cases.

In addition to Sara Netanyahu, Nitzan is also expected to support charging a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office in at least one affair, Channel 10 reported Tuesday.

The report did not say over which affair the State Prosecutor’s Office was likely to indict the prime minister’s wife, who has been accused of using state money to order food for personal use, as well as using public funds to pay for a caretaker for her elderly father.

The report did not offer a source for the information.

In response, a spokesperson for the prime minister said the report was an “embarrassment and disgrace.”

“[It is an] embarrassment and disgrace that an orchestrated and timed leak like this is leaked during the historic visit of the Indian prime minister to the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem,” Channel 10 quoted the spokesperson as saying.

“It will be an even greater embarrassment if in fact it will be recommended to indict the prime minister’s wife because of a few cups of tea that a caretaker gave to Mrs. Netanyahu’s late father, Shmuel Ben Artzi — may his memory be blessed — on his deathbed.”

State Attorney Shai Nitzan outside the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem on December 23, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
State Attorney Shai Nitzan outside the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem on December 23, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Channel 10 previously reported in April that the State Attorney’s office was inclined to recommend indicting Sara Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is suspected of improper behavior and misuse of state funds relating to the Prime Minister’s Residence, including receiving goods under false pretenses, falsifying documents, and breach of trust, the April report said.

The most significant case, according to the report, concerns accusations of using public funds to pay for a caretaker for her father, the late Shmuel Ben-Artzi.

She was questioned by police for hours last December over that case and two others involving suspected misuse of state money to order food for personal use.

At the time, the prime minister condemned the investigation, saying that the allegations against her were baseless.

Last May, Israel police recommended prosecuting her for aggravated fraud for allegedly appropriating public funds earmarked for the Prime Minister’s Residence for private use.

During a review of the case, the State Prosecutor’s Office asked the police to continue investigating and officers consequently discovered new evidence, the Channel 10 report said.

Former Prime Minister's Residence employee Guy Eliyahu (L) and Former Prime Minister's Residence manager Menny Naftali (R) at the National Labor Court in Jerusalem on February 28, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Former Prime Minister’s Residence employee Guy Eliyahu (L) and Former Prime Minister’s Residence manager Menny Naftali (R) at the National Labor Court in Jerusalem on February 28, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The evidence emerged in a long session of testimony given by Menny Naftali, a former caretaker at the residence, on November 1, according to the report.

Naftali was awarded NIS 170,000 ($46,000) in damages in February, after a labor court accepted his claims of mistreatment by Ms. Netanyahu during his employment at the Prime Minister’s Residence.

He had provided extensive descriptions of humiliation, racist remarks and angry fits that he allegedly suffered at the hands of Sara Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has claimed in the past that she is a victim of a plot to topple the prime minister and that former employees have been paid to testify against her.

In addition to reported cases against her, Sara Netanyahu is also said to be a suspect in a police investigation into allegations that the Netanyahus received gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels from a number of wealthy businesspeople, including Israeli movie producer Arnon Milchan.

The Netanyahus have denied any wrongdoing in that case.

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