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Netanyahus sued by ex-caretaker for abuse claims

Manny Naftali, ex-caretaker of the Netanyahu’s residence, said he was not compensated fairly and was subjected to some racist diatribes

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife are facing a legal case after the former caretaker of their Jerusalem residence filed a lawsuit claiming abuse this week.

The case against Netanyahu and his wife Sara was reported on Wednesday when Israel’s Channel 2 stated that Manny Naftali, the former caretaker, was suing the couple for $287, 685 in damages.

Naftali, a former soldier and a bodyguard to Sara, was promoted to become the overseer of the residence.

A Moroccan Jew, Naftali claimed that the couple didn’t “fulfill their obligations” and he was not compensated fairly, especially when he worked overtime.

He recounted a number of stories, alleging unfair treatment and racism.

‘Israel’s Marie Antoinette’

In one alleged incidence, Sara woke him up at 3 am to complain that the milk had been purchased in a bag rather than a carton.

According to the former caretaker, Sara had, in one incident, thrown a vase of wilting flowers on the floor, telling him that flowers would not wilt on show in the Élysée Palace.

On Thursday, Sara was dubbed “Israel’s Marie Antoinette” by the Haaretz; a daily known for its anti-Netanyahu criticism.

The Israeli daily wrote in its blog: “Just when we thought Israel’s first lady’s image problem couldn’t get any worse - a newly filed lawsuit describes racist remarks, spendthrift ways, and serious anger management issues. “

Naftali, 35, also claimed that racism was directed against him.

‘We are sophisticated Europeans’

In one of the incidents, Sarah allegedly derided a meal, saying “we are sophisticated Europeans.

“We don’t eat as much food as you Moroccans. You are stuffing us so that when they photograph us abroad, we look fat.”

Naftali, who was later dismissed, said he was placed under a lot of pressure during his tenure as caretaker of the residence, especially since 29 staff members left “on a bad note” during his 20-month stint with the Netanyahus.

The Haaretz expects the case to be damaging to Netanyahu’s image.

“Naphtali’s descriptive lawsuit is far more damaging and his credibility is going to be much more difficult to impugn,” it wrote, adding “This is a man [Naftali] with an impressive military background, who served in military units, after countless security screenings and who worked as your personal bodyguard.”

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post on Thursday reported Netanyahu’s office describing the allegations as “evil gossip,” violating the couple’s privacy.

The office also said the Naftali’s claims were aimed at defaming the Netanyahus and extracting money from them.

Naftali is not the first to lodge a legal complaint against Netanyahu and his wife.

In 2010, a maid by the name Liliane Peretz claimed that the “Netanyahus shouted at her, humiliated her, overworked her and underpaid her,” London-based The Telegraph reported.

Peretz, who also said that the Netanyahus insisted that she change clothes during her working ours to remain clean, received an undisclosed sum in an out-of-court settlement two years after lodging her complaint.