PM's wife refutes housekeeper's claims

In response to court, Sarah Netanyahu calls exploitation allegations "baseless."

February 17, 2010 16:46
2 minute read.
Sara Netanyahu.

Sara Netanyahu. (photo credit: Jerusalem Post)


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Sarah Netanyahu did not force her housekeeper in Caesaria, Lilian Peretz, to work on Saturdays or be available by telephone throughout the day of rest, and Peretz worked for only a short time on Friday mornings and only sometimes came for an hour-and-a-half to the Netanyahu home to help close it up on Saturday nights, the prime minister’s wife said in a written response to the Tel Aviv District Labor Court on Wednesday.

In January, Peretz sued Netanyahu for more than NIS 375,000 in retroactive pay, vacation pay, traveling expenses, pain and distress compensation and other charges.

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In the response, prepared by her lawyer David Shimron, Netanyahu charged that “the lawsuit is full of fabrications…[Peretz] filed a false, unfounded and malicious suit… She worked in the Netanyahu home for six (!) years because she was treated with warmth and love by Netanyahu. She herself said many times, ‘I came because of Bibi, but I stayed because of Sarah.’” She also said Peretz had quit working for the Netanyahu family after they rejected her request for a “significant” pay raise.

Netanyahu included in the response notes and statements that Peretz had made expressing her love for Sarah and the family. “Sarah, her children and the family treated Peretz with love and were treated to love from her in return,” she maintained.

Netanyahu also argued that she had helped out Peretz’s family by giving household maintenance work to her husband, Haim. She said that she gave the work to him automatically, without comparing prices from other workmen.

As would be expected, Peretz’s charges and Netanyahu’s responses present a Rashomon-like scenario.

Here, for example, is the accusation in the housekeeper’s lawsuit about the fact that Netanyahu allegedly forced Peretz to cook at her house and bring the food to the Netanyahus.

“In addition to the frequent trips to the Netanyahu home in Caesaria from Hadera, alongside the increase in the work hours, in addition to the fact that she made herself available and dedicated her life to Netanyahu, Lilian also had to cook the Netanyahu family’s food (four people) in her own private kitchen because she was forbidden from cooking in the Netanyahu home in case a drop of oil or a spice would end up on Netanyahu’s furniture.”

But Netanyahu offered a different account. “The food was cooked at Peretz’s home because Peretz preferred to cook at the same time that she cooked for her own family in order to save time and energy, as she explained it,” she wrote.

According to another Peretz allegation, “Lilian had to flatter Sarah every time she saw her and tell her that she was so intelligent and beautiful; otherwise, Netanyahu would turn a sour face and make her life miserable.”

Netanyahu said in reply, “Peretz called them ‘Sarah’ and ‘Bibi’ and used many affectionate nicknames like ‘Sarahle,’ ‘my eyes,’ ‘my love’ and others.”

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