Domestic tantrums keep spotlight on Sara

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The Independent Online
Sara Netanyahu is once more under attack for bullying her staff, her bodyguards, her hairdresser and her husband.

"If the prime minister were to have seen what you did to his shoes, he would have butchered you," she screamed, as she hurled a pair of her husband's shoes that she considered improperly shined at Rachel Yaakov, who for 30 years had worked as a domestic servant in the prime minister's residence.

Ms Yaakov, 60, now sits at home, though still paid by the Israeli state - one of a growing list of casualties of a Sara Netanyahu tantrum. Since her husband took office 18 months ago she has fired three nannies and two secretaries and become the most famously unpopular Israeli first lady ever.

Once she insisted her staff taste wine delivered to the residence in case it was poisoned. "It didn't matter to her that I die, the important thing was that she gets her wine," Rosi Perstai, her personal secretary, was quoted as saying by the daily Yediot Aharanot.

Most stories by former or current employees show her as inconsiderate, authoritarian and neurotic. When she fired Tanya Shaw, her first nanny, last year for burning the soup, she had her secretary search Ms Shaw's suitcase in case she had stolen anything. An eyewitness said: "Sara instructed her to shake every piece of clothing, even the nanny's used underwear and dirty laundry."

The most serious allegation is that she forced Mr Netanyahu to break all contact with Noa, his 19-year-old daughter from his first marriage. Last year, he even stopped support payments for her, until forced to resume them by the threat of legal action. The prime minister now only meets Noa late at night at his office and the meetings are kept secret from his wife.