Netanyahu's wife comes under fresh press attack

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The Independent Online
The wife of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, was thrust into the eye of another storm in Israel yesterday over a newspaper report which alleged that she had abused her position and tormented subordinates.

Mr Netanyahu's office issued a blanket denial of the claims made about his 39-year-old wife Sara by Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's best-selling daily. A spokesman said: "We don't react to such gossip." The report, which dominated radio chat shows for hours, was the latest salvo against the first lady.

Among the allegations, attributed to unnamed officials and witnesses, was a claim that Sara Netanyahu kept an office in the prime ministry building, two secretaries and a media adviser, at the taxpayers' expense.

The newspaper also alleged that she had fired three nannies and two secretaries since Mr Netanyahu took office 18 months ago, thrown shoes at a housekeeper because they weren't polished properly and forced erstwhile friends to address her as "Mrs Netanyahu".

Mr Netanyahu, who put his family in the spotlight during an American- style election campaign last year, has portrayed Sara, his third wife, as the victim of a hostile press and a no-holds-barred opposition.

- Reuters, Jerusalem