Press Assaults Sarah Netanyahu

Israeli news outlets in another all-out attack on prime minister's wife, this time because a caregiver broke her own finger.

Gil Ronen ,

Sarah Netanyahu
Sarah Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel news outlets have devoted extensive coverage this week to allegations that the Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Netanyahu, was involved in a confrontation with a Nepalese woman who took care of her aged father, and then fired her.

The woman claims that she was startled when Netanyahu shouted at her for negligence in the care of her 96 year-old charge, poet and renowned educator Shmuel Ben-Artzi, and as a result fell and broke a finger. Netanyahu claims that the woman injured herself, and that she habitually lies down deliberately on the floor and thrashes in a tantrum when she is enraged. 

All major Israeli news outlets except for Yisrael Hayom – which is published by Sheldon Adelson, considered close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – are openly hostile to Netanyahu and for years have missed no opportunity to attack him viciously, often through criticism of his wife.

Satirical website Latma, which publishes media critiques in Hebrew, noted bitterly on Wednesday that the media has largely ignored stories like the large demonstration at Migron, while the week's "central news item" was that "Sarah Netanyahu shouted at a foreign worker who takes care of her sick father."

"The worker claims that she was so startled that  she fell and broke a finger and cut her chin (in a way that left no mark)," wrote Latma's Shuki Balas sarcastically. "But due to a medical miracle, despite breaking a finger, she required no more than a Band-Aid..."

News outlets might have noted that Mrs. Netanyahu keeps watch on her father and worries about how her father is cared for, despite her busy schedule.

Maariv's Ben Caspit, an avowed enemy of the Netanyahus, claimed Sarah Netanyahu is exhibiting a "pattern" of violent behavior toward domestic staff, citing previous cases in which Netanyahu was accused of improper behavior toward a nanny and a housekeeper, both of whom were fired.

Balas notes, however, that the nanny lost the lawsuit she filed against Netanyahu, and that Netanyahu has twice won libel suits against a Jerusalem newspaper that accused her of improper behavior. Libel suits regarding other stories about Mrs. Netanyahu – including one by Ben Caspit – are currently in court.

Editor's note: Arutz Sheva's English site managing editor served as chairwoman of Emunah Israel from 1996-2001, during Netanyahu's first term, when the "violent behavior towards domestic staff" allegations first surfaced. She received a call from IDF radio asking for an interview on how badly Mrs. Netanyahu treats her staff and answered that the accusations have been denied and are unproven. The caller then said that she expects the head of a religious women's organization to criticise Mrs. Netanyahu. When the response was that what counts is Mr. Netanyahu's performance as Prime MInister, not his wife's household - which might interest a tabloid but not a serious radio station - the answer was: If you have no criticism, then we won't interview you.