Netanyahu and Lapid.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid has had a number of well-documented disagreements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but that did not stop the former finance minister from coming to the defense of Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, on Tuesday.
Sara Netanyahu has been the subject of much media scrutiny in recent days over claims by former employees at the prime minister’s official residence that she was abusive and improper as an employer.
In an interview with Galei Israel radio, Lapid said, “I have known Sara Netanyahu for 20 years, and I’ve never witnessed any of this alleged behavior. She should not be attacked. It is ugly.”
Lapid, however, did not hesitate to take the opportunity to attack his political rival. “The problem as I see it is not what Mrs. Netanyahu does.
Our problem is Benjamin Netanyahu, her husband.”
The Yesh Atid leader said the defaming would not help defeat the prime minister in the elections.
“Maybe it’s true, and everybody is saying it and there is a lot of evidence.
But, in my eyes, it doesn’t make things worse for [Benjamin] Netanyahu, it makes things easier for Netanyahu,” he said. “The problem is not what Mrs. Netanyahu does to her employees. Even if it is all true, she is not the first in the world to act this way, and that doesn’t interest me. The problem is her husband, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has egregiously contributed to the deterioration of the State of Israel.
This is what I want to concern myself with.”
Netanyahu himself spoke out against the allegations on Monday.
“The media attack against my wife, Sara, is yet another low point for some leading members of the Israeli media who will use any means to hurt me and my political path,” Netanyahu charged. “The ‘Anyone but Bibi’ campaign has become ‘Anyone but Sara’ – anything in order to defame, denounce, attack, to do all in their power to unseat the Likud under my leadership and pave the way for the Left,” he said. “Those who wish to attack my policies in a proper manner are welcome. Leave my family alone.”
New evidence surfaced on Sunday in the lawsuit against the prime minister and his wife, filed by Manny Naftali, the former overseer of Netanyahu’s residence. The evidence, in the form of two testimonies of former employees that echo Naftali’s accusations, makes harsh claims against Sara’s behavior.
Emmanuel Sela, a former overseer of the residence, gave a statement at Jerusalem Labor Court, saying he was required to work long hours without remuneration.
Another worker at the residence, Guy Eliahu, said in his testimony that Sara used to “ask me to bring her food, and when I would return with the requested food she would accuse me of trying to make her fat.”
Eliyahu said once he was called back to the residence after he had gone home, “after midnight, just so I could heat up a bowl of soup for Mrs. Netanyahu.”