Daily Israel Report

Ugly Legal Battle Brews Between Netanyahu, Former Employee

Worker demands 200,000 shekel compensation for 'unorthodox' work; close confidant to Arutz Sheva: this is simply extortion.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/18/2014, 2:24 PM

The Netanyahu family (file)
The Netanyahu family (file)
Flash90

A controversy over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's household blared across Israeli media headlines Tuesday, after a former employee in charge of maintenance has accused the household of violating the terms of his working conditions and has demanded a 200,000 shekel (approximately $57,000) compensation fee. 

Tuesday morning, one of Netanyahu's confidants spoke to Arutz Sheva about the controversy. 

"We are talking about empty threats from a rude employee," the confidant stated. "It pains me that a worker who has been privileged to serve in the most sensitive and personal area of a leader's life has chosen to close his career by exposing the couple's personal lives and threatening them. This is extortion if nothing else." 

The confidant explained that the employee, in reality, takes issue with the government - not with the couple themselves. "He does not work for them but rather is employed by the State," he said. "He has a financial dispute with the State, like many others. Using threats against the couple is blackmail, no less." 

Channel 2 reported Monday night that the former employee is due to meet with the State Comptroller to hand over the information against the couple that he allegedly has held during the media fiasco. The disgruntled employee is also considering filing a claim with the Labor Court over the sum, according to that report. 

He claims that he was ordered to perform jobs not included in the work agreement - and has tapes and other media to prove it. Among the allegations include being forced to work extra hours with little to no pay, according to Yisrael HaYom, and using "unorthodox" administrative policies. 

The daily also noted that the PMO has already offered the former employee full compensation for any missing wages and an additional 50,000 NIS ($14,243) settlement, but the employee has refused to take it. 

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) issued a response Monday.

""The PMO sent the former employee's attorney a letter, dated January 12, 2014, reading, 'We hereby reject your threats. We understand that the background of those threats is the political standing of the Prime Minister and the attempt to use it to your client's advantage, but it is our obligation to safeguard the public's money and your threats will not cause us to pay out that money unlawfully'," the statement said.

The PMO also noted that the employee was a temporary worker, only being under contract from February 2011 to November 2012.  

The former employee has since released a statement noting that he never intended to threaten the Prime Minister or his family, but merely to receive the money allegedly owed him.