Last updated: 30 August, 2011

Israel PM’s wife faces new staff abuse allegations

A Nepalese migrant worker has accused Sarah Netanyahu of assault in the latest allegation against the Israeli premier’s wife of abusing her domestic staff, Channel Two television said on Tuesday.

The Nepalese woman, whom the privately owned channel did not name, was employed at the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to look after his father-in-law who has been living with the couple because of his failing health.

She accuses the prime minister’s wife, who has long been a controversial figure in Israel, of assaulting her three weeks ago during an argument, the television said.

“She mistreated me, shoved me and I was injured,” it quoted the home help as saying. “Sarah Netanyahu also threatened to get me sent back to my country.”

The television said that the premier’s wife had accused the Nepalese woman of extracting money from her father triggering the row.

It said that Sarah Netanyahu claimed she had called a doctor for her employee who had found no evidence of any injury.

The prime minister’s office denied there had been the “slightest physical contact” between Sarah Netanyahu and the home helper in a statement reported by public radio.

However it did acknowledge the premier’s wife had accused her employee of neglecting her father.

Since the mid-1990s Sarah Netanyahu has faced repeated accusations in the Israeli press of short-temperedly abusing her domestic staff and leading an extravagant lifestyle at the expense of her husband’s business donors.

Earlier this year, she gave an impassioned interview to Channel Two pleading for a halt to the media criticism which she said was really aimed at her husband.

“Again I stand before the public as a target. Again, they hurt the prime minister through me,” she said.

“This is evil gossip, which becomes a sort of permanent ritual of hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness. Enough. Enough already. This has to stop.”