Sara Netanyahu goes on trial

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israel’s prime minister, faces charges of fraud and breach of trust at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Sunday.

By David Isaac

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israel’s prime minister, faces charges of fraud and breach of trust at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Sunday. Also on trial is the office’s deputy director-general Ezra Saidoff.

In what has been called the Prepared Food Affair, prosecutors allege that Sara Netanyahu ordered an estimated $100,000 in meals from prestigious restaurants between September 2010 to March 2013. Regulations forbid ordering catering services while a chef is employed. The indictment, which was filed in June, details the transactions for each month.

Mrs. Netanyahu had allegedly been aware of the restrictions. The indictment accuses her, in coordination with then-deputy director-general Ezra Saidoff of the prime minister’s office, of ordering employees to hide the fact that a chef was employed “so that this wouldn’t be exposed by the office’s accountants, thereby receiving double funding at the treasury’s expense to pay for restaurant meals at the residence.” The cook was therefore listed as part of the cleaning staff.

She is also accused of using waiters to serve the meals on weekends and at private affairs, listing them as “extra manpower” or “cleaners” to conceal the fact that they were illegally employed.

“The accused have made various claims they know aren’t true and which they themselves don’t believe to be true,” according to the indictment, adding that “hundreds of thousands of shekels … were extracted continuously and methodically, on the basis of inaccurate claims.”

In a statement in response to the indictment, Mrs. Netanyahu’s legal team said, “It’s the first time in Israel and in the world that the wife of a leader is put on trial for food entrees. There was no fraud, no breach of trust or any other felony. We’re certain in the end that justice will speak. Truth and logic will prevail.”