Is Netanyahu the Queen of Mean?

By Nathan Burstein

Published January 20, 2010, issue of January 29, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel’s first lady is a Queen of Mean, according to a new lawsuit.

Dirty Deeds?: A former housekeeper claims she was ‘mistreated and abused’ by Sara Netanyahu.
Getty Images
Dirty Deeds?: A former housekeeper claims she was ‘mistreated and abused’ by Sara Netanyahu.

In Tel Aviv court papers made public January 15, a former housekeeper claims that Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “mistreated and abused” her during five years of service, paying her less than minimum wage and subjecting her to a long list of indignities and unreasonable demands.

Comparing the case to a “Cinderella story,” the lawsuit seeks damages of 300,000 shekels (just under $80,000), and accuses Sara Netanyahu of a variety of misdeeds, among them:

• Demanding that the housekeeper, Lillian Peretz, address her employer only as “Mrs. Sara Netanyahu,” and inflicting verbal abuse when she failed to do so.

• Requiring Peretz to supply herself with four uniforms: one each for bathroom cleaning, general cleaning, laundry work and cooking.

• Insisting that Peretz be available 24 hours a day and on holidays, despite her observance of Shabbat and other mitzvot.

• Failing to reimburse Peretz for expenses and to pay for all the hours of her work.

Largely shielded from the press during her husband’s current term as prime minister, Sara Netanyahu has not commented publicly on the lawsuit. Curiosity about the case followed her husband on a state visit to Berlin, where, at a January 18 press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he directed the Israeli media to “leave my wife and children alone.” Expressing confidence that his wife would be exonerated, the prime minister — a peripheral figure in the legal complaint — ignored questions about whether the suit might be politically motivated.

Peretz denied being a supporter of Kadima, the largest opposition party in the Knesset. “Nothing political is connected to this,” she told a reporter for Channel 2 News.

A psychologist and former flight attendant, Sara Netanyahu endured a rocky relationship with the Israeli media during her husband’s first stint as prime minister in the 1990s, including reports that she had been abusive toward assistants.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.