Israel PM's wife faces new scrutiny over treatment of workers

Jerusalem (AFP) –


The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced new scrutiny Monday over accusations of poor treatment of employees following a lawsuit and a related complaint filed with police.

Police confirmed Monday that a complaint had been submitted by a woman saying she faced threats and harassment after she filed a lawsuit against Sara Netanyahu last week alleging mistreatment while working as a cleaner at the prime minster's residence.

She has asked for 225,000 shekels ($64,000, 54,000 euros) in compensation in the lawsuit, which Israeli media have reported alleges Sara Netanyahu humiliated and harassed her.

A spokesman for the Netanyahu family did not immediately respond to a request from AFP, but told Israeli media that the allegations were baseless and a further attempt to smear them.

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of allegations involving the Netanyahus, leading to speculation over whether the premier will eventually be forced to resign.

Sara Netanyahu faces a possible trial over alleged misuse of public funds, while in February 2016, a court awarded 170,000 shekels in damages to a former housekeeper who accused the Netanyahus of repeated workplace abuse.

Benjamin Netanyahu is being investigated in a graft probe over gifts from wealthy supporters and over suspicions he sought a secret deal with a top-selling newspaper.

The new lawsuit against his wife was filed by a 24-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman who worked at the residence for a month, according to Israeli media.

She reportedly accused Sara Netanyahu of treating her like a "slave", preventing her from eating, drinking or taking breaks during working hours.

One allegation was that she told the woman that she was extremely busy and required quick workers.

Sara Netanyahu allegedly said she "doesn't hire fat women" because she prefers that they run and not walk, Haaretz newspaper reported.