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The Prime Minister's Office took the gloves off Friday in defense of Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister's wife, saying a lawsuit filed against her by a former worker was full of "lies and slander," and that extensive coverage of the story in Yediot Aharonot was part of a "tendentious media campaign lacking any journalistic ethics."
On Friday, Yediot splashed on its front page a headline quoting Netanyahu's housekeeper as saying, "Sara abused me, humiliated and exploited me."
Pages 6 and 7 of the paper were devoted to quoting extensively from the lawsuit in which the plaintiff was claiming NIS 374,359 for a basket of grievances, including emotional damages of NIS 50,000.
The 44-year-old woman filed the lawsuit in the Tel Aviv Labor Court.
The plaintiff, a married woman with four children named Lillian, claimed 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 house, 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."
A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said that the lawsuit was full of lies and slander with the goal being to harm Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife.
"In total contrast to what is written in the lawsuit, the plaintiff Lillian received warm and affection treatment from Mrs. Netanyahu. It is this treatment that led her to stay six years with the Netanyahu family," the statement read.
To prove the point, the Prime Minister's Office released the 2008 letter of resignation Lillian sent to the Netanyahu family, in which she signed it "with much love and appreciation," and a 2005 picture from a Mimouna celebration in which she was seen hugging Sara Netanyahu.
The Prime Minister's Office also sent out a quote that appeared in Ynet from that Mimouna celebration, in which Lillian said: "I love Sara. I have no friends and she is a friend, mother and helper. She is everything to me, an incredible person."
The Prime Minister's Office said that unfortunately the article was part of a "tendentious media campaign lacking any journalistic ethics," and said that not only did the paper not ask the Prime Minister's Office for a response, but that the Netanyahus had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit.
The plaintiff's lawyers, the statement said, went directly to the press.
Netanyahu, according to the statement, has twice won lawsuits she was involved in, once in a similar case involving a disgruntled worker, and another in a libel case against a local paper.