Court awards damages to worker humiliated by Israeli Prime Minister's wife

Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are shown at a polling station in Jerusalem in August 2007.

Story highlights

  • A caretaker in Sara Netanyahu's home has been awarded $20,500 for emotional distress
  • The worker also won compensation for having been falsely promised a permanent position
  • The court rejected libel allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

(CNN)A court in Jerusalem has found that the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu humiliated and degraded a government caretaker in her home and has awarded the worker 80,000 shekels, or about $20,500, for emotional distress.

The court also ruled that the worker, Menachem Naftali, was tricked by an employee in the Prime Minister's office into believing he would get a permanent position. And for that misrepresentation, the court awarded Naftali 75,000 shekels, or about $19,200.
    The ruling gave a damning description of the behavior of Sara Netanyahu.

    Prime Minister cleared of libel allegation

    "Much evidence was brought before the court that pointed to the fact that there were harmful conditions of work because of the behavior of Mrs. Netanyahu and her relations to the workers," the judgment said. "These included exaggerated demands, degradation, humiliation and expression of outrage. The workers were also called upon to work many, extraordinary hours. Because of that the turnover of workers in the (house of the) PM was very high and there was always a chronic shortage of manpower. The need for specialized services does not justify harmful employment."
    Naomi Landau, a lawyer for Naftali, called the decision historic.
    "Now there is a decision saying that Mrs. Netanyahu really abused, violated, bullied her employees," Landau said. "It is 40 pages of 'I Accuse.' "
    Contacted by CNN, the office of the Prime Minister had no comment on the judgment.
    Naftali also sued Benjamin Netanyahu for libel, but the court rejected the allegations against the Prime Minister, saying the remarks Netanyahu made in a television interview were general and did not target him in particular.