Binyamin and Sarah Netanyahu
Binyamin and Sarah Netanyahu Haim Zach/GPO

Sarah Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, submitted an appeal on Wednesday demanding that the judge presiding over the case of a former employee of Netanyahu's disqualify herself from hearing the case.

Judge Dita Pruginin in February ruled in favor of Manny Naftali, former Superintendent of the Prime Minister's Residence who had complained of verbal abuse by Sarah Netanyahu.

In the appeal Wednesday submitted by Netanyahu's lawyer Yossi Cohen, the prime minister's wife argued that Pruginin should disqualify herself from hearing the case of Guy Eliyahu, a former worker at the Prime Minister's Residence who likewise has complained of abuse.

Cohen said the court "is not open to being convinced in the case of Eliyahu and its opinion is 'closed,'" reports Channel 2

Earlier this month Pruginin rejected a previous request that she disqualify herself from the case, citing the timing of the request as a reason.

In his latest request, Sarah Netanyahu's lawyer noted that she took a long time in appealing due to her great caution in handling the case, "particularly in light of the sensitivity stemming from her status" as the prime minister's wife.

Cohen emphasized that the objectivity of the judge is the key factor in determining whether she is fit to hear a case, with another factor being the appearance of justice.

He argued that Netanyahu faces a "fixed game" because it is not possible to convince Pruginin to change her opinion in favor of Netanyahu "around the same testimonies and pieces of evidence from both the Naftali case and the Eliyahu case."

The lawyer pointed out that Pruginin cannot now make a ruling in favor of Netanyahu because doing so would oppose her own ruling in the Naftali case, and he added that the Naftali case ruling was largely based on Eliyahu's testimony which was accepted by the judge.

After the court in February ruled in favor of Naftali, Netanyahu's lawyers said she planned to petition given that she was not sued in the case and therefore could not appear in court to provide testimony and defend herself.

Naftali had complained of extensive verbal abuse by Sarah, alleging among other things that she had turned over a table and broken kitchenware while shouting at employees, and that she summoned workers to the Prime Minister's Residence just to wish her a good night. The court ruled that he would receive 170,000 shekels in compensation from the Prime Minister's Residence.