Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu..
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's political foes were behind Friday's story in Yediot Aharonot about a lawsuit that his family's former housekeeper filed against his wife, Sara, sources close to Netanyahu said on Sunday.
The story about Lillian Peretz's NIS 374,359 lawsuit in the Tel Aviv Labor Court embarrassed the prime minister and put Sara back in the spotlight, where she often was during Netanyahu's first term in office.
Netanyahu's associates pointed fingers at unnamed people who want to bring down the prime minister.
"Sara Netanyahu became a victim of political and economic interests who allowed target practice on her and will try again to find former employees and fake stories to hurt her," a source very close to Netanyahu said. "The story is so delusional and crazy that we must consider who could be behind it. There are people who have an interest in such reports for political reasons, to hurt the prime minister."
The Netanyahus' lawyer, David Shimron, and former Likud strategist Ronnie Rimon, also made such accusations in multiple interviews. Rimon said that people who failed to find anything that could damage Netanyahu targeted his wife out of desperation.
"I thought that what happened before, when certain sectors of the population didn't accept Netanyahu, wouldn't happen again," Rimon said. "If people have a problem with the prime minister, they should criticize the prime minister."
Kadima officials responded that "Netanyahu and his people should face the real problems the story revealed and not deal with minutia about how the story got out. Where there is smoke, there is fire and where there is Bibi there is paranoia."
Netanyahu's associates also blamed the story on the ongoing battle between Yediot
and Yisrael Hayom
, the free daily that favors the prime minister.
Peretz told reporters outside her home in Hadera that she stands by her accusations. She denied that she had any connection to Kadima or any other political foe of the prime minister.
"The truth will come to light," she promised. "Nothing political is behind this."
Channel 2 reported on Sunday night that the Netanyahus did not pay Peretz for her transportation costs to their home in Caesarea from her's in Hadera. They also did not pay her for working on Shabbat.
Peretz told Yediot
that her relationship with Sara involved constant humiliation and an overall hostile atmosphere. According to the paper's report on the lawsuit, Netanyahu expected Lillian to be on call 24 hours a day, and once even phoned her at 2 a.m. to reprimand her for failing to properly cover a pillow.
She also charged that Sara forced her other employees to call her "Mrs. Sara Netanyahu" and would often boast that she had a beautiful home, telling her housekeeping staff how lucky they were to be working for the Netanyahu family and saying she was the "mother of the State of Israel."
Sara Netanyahu's former assistant Naomi Egoose told Channel 2 that she endured similar abuse from her 12 years ago and she was still traumatized by it.
"I had hoped that 12 years would do something for Sara Netanyahu, but when I read the article, I saw that she hadn't changed," Egoose said.
"If she screamed at me six times a day and at Netanyahu's media adviser six times a day, she must scream at the prime minister at least once a day. I have nothing against the prime minister. I just believe he has to put her in her place."