In legal blow to Netanyahus, court grants family's ex-aide win in labor case

National Labor Court confirms lower court ruling that PM's wife had no right to appeal.

Sara Netanyahu (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Sara Netanyahu
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Netanyahus suffered another legal blow as the National Labor Court dismissed Sara Netanyahu’s appeals of two judgments, granting the prime minister’s former house manager and another former employee their final victories.
The first judgment awarded NIS 170,000 to Meni Naftali as compensation for unpaid overtime hours and poor treatment received on the job. The second awarded NIS 97,500 to Guy Eliyahu for having been abused while an employee in the Prime Minister’s Residence.
In February and again in May 2016, the lower Jerusalem Labor Court ruled in favor of Naftali and Eliyahu, respectively, against the state and against Sara Netanyahu’s narrative.
Naftali was house manager from February 2011 to November 2012. The National Labor Court confirmed the lower court’s ruling that Mrs. Netanyahu had no right to appeal. Only the state had that right, since the civil damages claim in this case was technically against it.
She argued that Naftali’s case and the lower court ruling contained such significant findings against her character, she should have a right to get them overturned.
In contrast, the National Labor Court ruled that even though she was central to the narrative of the case, it was only in the role of a fact-witness and not as a defendant.
Technically, the three defendants were the Prime Minister’s Office, office official Ezra Seidoff and Benjamin Netanyahu, though ultimately the prime minister played no role in the trial.
In her appeal, Sara Netanyahu said the lower court “did not allow the appellant [Sara Netanyahu] to defend herself and caused her injustice, in that it ignored on point and explicit testimony in her favor and accepted the testimony of the prosecutor, despite the explicit evidence which indicated that he lied.”
In the original trial Sara Netanyahu testified that “the baseless lies, slander and mudslinging which Meni Naftali told about the wife of the prime minister in court – who is not even a defendant in his case – are scandalous. Nothing less than that.”
In the end, though, the three-person panel – Judge Dita Pruginin, employee representative Natan Mizrahi and employer representative Eliezer Yaari – believed Naftali over Sara Netanyahu almost across the board.
In their decision they wrote regarding Mrs. Netanyahu’s attacks on Naftali: “There was no evidentiary basis in what was presented before us and there was not even a lot of proof to support them.”
There is still an appeal by the state against the lower court’s judgment regarding Naftali based on legal principles, but that appeal will not challenge all of the factual findings against Sara Netanyahu.