TEL AVIV — A former housekeeper for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence is suing his wife, Sara, for pain and suffering allegedly caused during her employment there, the housekeeper’s attorney said on Thursday.
The attorney, Opheer Shimson, said his client is demanding $190,000 in damages for abuse suffered by Sara Netanyahu.
The woman, an immigrant from France, is a mother of five in her mid-50s who wished to keep her identity secret. She worked at the Netanyahu residence for five months until last November, when she was injured from a fall that she said was caused by Sara Netanyahu’s abusive demands.
A diary was kept of the verbal abuse she suffered.
“She adores the prime minister and saw her work at his home as a form of national service,” Shimson told the AP. “But she’s been traumatized by her experience. Everyone knew what was going on there, and no one can say otherwise.”
Sara Netanyahu has been accused of abusive behavior toward personal staff in the past. She was also convicting of misusing state funds after she reached a plea bargain settling allegations that she overspent some $100,000 of state money on lavish meals. She’s also been indicted for graft, fraud and breach of trust.
A court ruled she mistreated a housekeeper in 2016 and awarded the man $42,000 in damages. Several other employees have accused of her of abuse as well, including another pending lawsuit that alleges she forbade a former staff member to eat or drink on the job and required her to change her clothes dozens of times a day.
The Netanyahus have rejected all of the charges, calling them part of a media-fueled campaign to remove them from power.
Israel will hold its third election in less than a year next week. Two weeks later, Benjamin Netanyahu will go on trial for charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.