PM names new spokesman after Sara-Tara affair

Veteran publicist Ofer Lefler is appointed spokesman of the Netanyahu family, instead of government spokesmen.

September 2, 2011 02:04
2 minute read.
Netanyahu family spokesman Ofer Lefler

ofer lefler 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed veteran publicist Ofer Lefler as the spokesman of his family Wednesday after Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein advised him that he must stop using government spokesmen to respond to claims regarding the matter of Tara Kumari, a Nepalese nurse who cared for Sara Netanyahu’s father.

Lefler is a former spokesman for the Turkel Committee that investigated the handling of last year’s Gaza flotilla, the Prisons Service, and former public security ministers Avi Dichter and Uzi Landau.

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He is also a frequent critic of the Netanyahu government’s policies, both as a commentator on Channel 2 and on his personal Facebook page. Lefler attended recent demonstrations against the government’s socioeconomic policies and praised the demonstrations afterward.

“This is a moment that reminds me of the November 29, 1947, United Nations vote that enabled the Jewish people to build their home,” Lefler wrote on his Facebook page after the August 6 Tel Aviv mass protest.

“Immigrants, veterans, Ashkenazim and Sephardim of all ages came together with kippa wearers, traditional Jews, haredim, and Arabs and voted with their feet on their will to live here in a more respectful way. It’s a great feeling to belong to such a society.”

Lefler wrote on July 30 that when he marched in a river of people down the streets of Tel Aviv, he felt that “perhaps from here a revolution will really begin.”

The Netanyahu family’s new spokesman was also critical of the government’s policies on other issues. When Channel 2 reported that hundreds of Palestinian prisoners would be released, he noted that more than 4,000 Palestinian inmates had been freed prematurely since the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

Lefler called the decision to release the prisoners “a crime.”

Lefler also fiercely criticized Netanyahu’s coalition partner Shas on Channel 2 after the party’s religious services minister, Ya’acov Margi, came out against the housing demonstrations.

“Margi, like Islamic extremists, aims at the lowest rungs of the poorest sectors and ignites hatred,” Lefler said. “Mr. Margi, don’t enflame the ethnic tensions you make a living out of.

The time has come for Ashkenazi and Sephardi native Israelis and Russian and Ethiopian immigrants to tell you and Shas ‘enough of the hatred that you ignite. We are sick of you.’” Shas spokesman Roy Lachmanovich responded that “I can only hope that the advice [Lefler] gives the prime minister will be wiser and deeper than his shallow sociological commentary.”

Lefler reacted to the criticism by saying that his role with the Netanyahu family has nothing to do with the government’s policies. He said he stood by what he said on TV and wrote on Facebook and that he did not intend to take down any of his controversial statements from his Facebook page.

“I am not a spokesman for the government,” Lefler said. “I am a private citizen hired by the Netanyahu family. I won’t deal with any issues related to the government, only the crisis that the Netanyahu family is currently dealing with.”

Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report.

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