It is 3:59 P.M. on February 18. I am sitting in the office of former house manager Menny Naftali, who is suing the Netanyahus for $290,000 claiming he was insulted, treated unfairly, yadda, yadda, yadda. There are piles of plastic bags stuffed with unidentifiable material, a randomly placed iron, an unhappy plant, a round top to something or other, and a half-eaten bar of Elite chocolate. I’m thinking: If this is the way Naftali left it, the Netanyahus should be suing him. At four PM the Comptroller’s Report is due to be released concerning the Netanyahus use of public funds in maintaining the Prime Minister’s residence.Since she brought this up, I should take the time to note that a neighbor of Naftali's reported seeing him bringing home packages of food to his in-laws:
A resident of Afula files a complaint with police claiming that Menny Naftali, former caretaker of the Prime Minister’s Residence, transferred cartons full of food items to his relatives on a weekly basis between 2011 and 2012.What are the odds Naftali took these goods from the prime minister's residence? If so, then he is a pure disgrace, and for all we know, he's probably accountable for expenses at the prime ministerial residence.
The complainant, Avi Gabay, lived in the past few years close to the home of Naftali’s in-laws. He says Naftali would come every week and bring between five and seven boxes full of groceries.
“I used to stand at the window of my house and see Mr. Naftali as well as the boxes he was carrying, sometimes to his father in law, sometimes to his mother in law. Some of the boxes were open and so I could see from above what was inside them,” the complainant said.
Let's go back to Ragen's interview now:
“Would you like to say something about the Comptroller’s Report?” I ask her right off the bat, wanting to usher the elephant out of the room.Precisely. It's pretty apparent by now it was all deliberate.
“The timing is surprising,” she says. “A few weeks before the election, and there is no sense of proportion. There was supposed to be a line by line comparison of costs between the running of the Prime Minister’s official residence, with the cost of running similar public institutions like the President’s House. Without that, how is the average person supposed to judge what’s going on?”
“Let’s talk about something a little more pleasant,” I say quickly, happy to put this unfruitful topic aside. “Let’s start with your childhood. I’ve read many articles about you, but I never heard you once describe your upbringing.”And this matters not to the leftist press. Their judgement is not based on color of character but on political standings. Is it any wonder they wouldn't care about her childhood or how she managed her early life, which the article has more about, including her army service?
“That’s because no one ever asks me and no one is interested,” she replies, giving me my first glimpse into her fraught relationship with the Israeli press, which has hounded her for years, creating a narrative in which she is usually pictured as a cross between the Wicked Witch of the West, Marie Antoinette and Imelda Marcos. “She is the most hated woman in Israel,” someone wrote me recently in a talkback.
And here I am sitting next to the object of almost apocryphal derision as she graciously pulls up a chair beside me instead of barricading herself behind her desk, answering my questions as we pour over baby pictures together (she was an adorable blonde cherub between three older brothers, her family’s pride and joy). “We had a very close family. I wouldn’t say our parents spoiled us—there was very little money in those days for that—but they spent time with us, and education was very important to them. It was a warm and nurturing household.”
I don’t have to ask why it is we’ve heard almost nothing about this part of Sara Netanyahu’s life. Working with children and their families to give them better lives, and a better educational experience simply doesn’t fit into the narrative of the spoiled, frivolous, extravagant woman the Leftist press has taught us to hate.Doing social work for children's benefits is a very admirable job. No wonder the leftist media despises this part of her life.
She's also maintained relations with the relatives of the Fogel family and other victims of jihad, and this doesn't matter to the media either.
As I listened to her, I just couldn’t help myself. I had to know. Where did it start, this devastating public image of her as a haughty, wasteful spendthrift, who abuses household help, is extravagant with public money, and parsimonious with her own, lavishly feathering her nest at the taxpayer’s expense while collecting bottles and pocketing the return deposit? What’s really behind all these slew of outrageous and petty stories, that no matter how many times they are debunked keep coming back in different forms?I agree with her too. Moses is a truly awful lot, and an embarrassment in the extreme. Read the full interview for all Ragen's gathered about Netanyahu's background and see the real image of somebody who's far from the image the leftist media want to view her as.
She answers me without hesitation: “There is one man behind it: Noni [Arnon] Moses [publisher of daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot and and its sister site on the internet, Ynet], who has for the last nineteen years put me in his sights in order to destroy my husband.”
Moses, who some call the most powerful man in Israel, has been backing a leftist agenda for years, supporting the Oslo Accords, the disengagement, and the Labor party. Many see the free newspaper, Yisrael Hayom, founded by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, as an attempt to finally get the public another point of view. For years, Moses has shamelessly tried to shut down Yisrael Hayom, going so far as to use his powerful connections to further a Knesset bill to that effect. In a post uploaded to Facebook, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Moses of being “the key factor behind the wave of smears against me and my wife.”
Sara continues “Everyone who works for me knows that the media is waiting for them – to give them honor, and maybe money, to say something negative about me. Any person who has bad things to say about me, is suddenly very popular with the media.”
From my own experience with the Israeli legal system, going to court is very expensive. Who is financing all the legal disputes of your maids and janitors? I ask her.
“That’s a question I wish the public would ask. I’ve sued for libel. And I’ve won every single time.”
I know how that goes. They put the negative things on page one, and when the lies are exposed, and your name is cleared, it finds its way to the back pages, or not at all. I tell her this, and she nods in agreement.