(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The wife of the prime minister, Sara Netanyahu, and the Jerusalem Municipality must partially disclose aspects of her work life as a psychologist, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Sunday.
More specifically, at the request of Ben Caspit, a reporter for The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv, the court ordered disclosure of the starting date for Netanyahu’s employment with the municipality, her work hours per month over a 12-month period, and time periods where she took extended leave.
The court denied Caspit’s request to compel disclosure of her salary, the identity of her superviser, the identity of institutions she has serviced, and facts related to the handling of any disciplinary issues in the work-place.
Caspit filed a request with the municipality to disclose the information in December 2016, but the city and Netanyahu refused, claiming the request violated her right to privacy.
Ultimately, the court agreed with Netanyahu that she had a right to privacy regarding a number of the issues Caspit wanted disclosed, but said that questions about when she worked and how many hours were made legitimate by Netanyahu’s “own use of her [psychologist] role in the press.”
In other words, once she discussed with the media her role as a psychologist in order to garner positive media attention, basic facts about how long and when she worked became fair game, even as more substantive data remained private.
Sources close to the Netanyahu family responded to the decision saying, “we praise the court for drawing a line against the hunt and crusade that Ben Caspit conducted against Mrs. Netanyahu for 20 years in order to harm the prime minister and his family by any means.”
They asserted that most of Caspit’s requests were rejected and that this proved even Netanyahu had a right to privacy.
Further, the sources contended that the municipality had revealed that there were no complaints against Netanyahu and that, Caspit’s father, Yitzhak, had twice rallied to Netanyahu’s defense in 2010, dismissing his son’s attacks on her.
The Jerusalem Municipality responded to the court ruling on Sara Netanyahu and said that she should be treated as any other employee, but it will respect the ruling and act accordingly.
“There should be a balance between the information that is given due to transparency and information that is not published due to personal privacy,” read a statement issued by the municipality on Sunday.
“The court partially accepted the appeal and determined that due to her [Netanyahu’s] special status, the municipality should reveal some details that we unusually do not disclose when it comes to other employees.
“The municipality will act accordingly,” it reads.
Udi Shaham contributed to this report.