Sisterhood Blog

Sara Netanyahu, Israel's Marie Antoinette

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

Haaretz Illustration

(Haaretz) — Oh, Sara, Sara, Sara.

First there was your nanny way way back in 1996 - a young South African girl named Tanya Shaw, who told the press that you were a nutty clean freak, a screaming shrew and accused you of firing her on the spot for committing the sin of burning soup and of having burly security guards drag her out of the Prime Minister’s residence after examining her suitcase to make sure she hadn’t stolen anything.

You called her crazy - or at least your husband, the Prime Minister did. His office issued a statement saying the young woman “showed indications of acute instability” which was why she was “removed.” and that “the Netanyahu family regrets the au pair’s severe condition and her imagined and false claims, and will do everything possible to help in her rehabilitation.”

Then, in 2010, there was your maid Liliane Peretz, who went a step further than complaining and filed suit against you in labor court. She said that during the six years she worked for you, you shouted at her, humiliated her, overworked and underpaid her - and insisted that she change clothes during the working day to remain hygienic enough for you. Your letter to the court said her claims were “fabricated” and that Peretz received nothing but “warmth and love” from you. The battle between you was ugly - and finally resolved in 2012 with an out-of-court settlement. No one knows how much money Peretz was given to stop her attacks but one can presume she no longer feels underpaid.

In both cases, your husband’s public relations team managed to launch impressive smear campaigns against the two women - you didn’t come out of the incidents looking very good, but neither did they.

But the news that broke Wednesday - the details that leaked of the lawsuit by Meni Naphtali, who managed the Prime Minister’s residence for 20 months and who’s suing you and Prime Minister Netanyahu for a million shekels in compensation - looks like a whole new ball game.

Three strikes and you’re out?

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She's No Michelle

By Elissa Strauss

Getty Images
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara Netanyahu attends the swearing-in ceremony of the 19th Knesset.

Apparently inspired by the reunion of Destiny’s Child at the Super Bowl, Sara Netanyahu showed up at the swearing in of the 19th Knesset in a form-fitting — well actually more like skin-tight — lace dress with a see-through top.

While we all love a first lady who can part with convention, it gets a little scary when the shift in style appears to be inspired by the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

In the United States we have had some great sartorially rebellious first-wives, namely Michelle Obama and Jackie O, both of whom redefined femininity for a generation. Jackie O did it with her A-line dresses, pill box hats and pastel suits. And Michelle Obama has inspired many women with her bright colors, strong arms, and mixing of couture with J. Crew. These first ladies achieved fashion icon status because of they way they come off as elegant and graceful while also appearing modern and relevant.

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Digest: Patenting Genes, Sara Netanyahu's Tsuris

By Gabrielle Birkner

The Sisterhood Digest:

• Israeli soldiers, in Haiti to assist victims of last week’s catastrophic earthquake, delivered a healthy baby, over the weekend, in a makeshift hospital that the Israel Defense Forces set up on a Port-au-Prince athletic field. The baby’s mother reportedly plans to name her newborn son “Israel.”

• As Myriad Genetics prepares to go to court to defend its right to patent two genes linked to breast cancer and ovarian cancer — genes that are most prevalent among Ashkenazic Jews — the Los Angeles Times comes out in favor of barring patents for gene sequences.

• Sara Netanyahu is being sued by a former housekeeper, who is charging that Israel’s First Lady was emotionally abusive. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, Mrs. Netanyahu “expected [the housekeeper] to be on call 24 hours a day, and once even phoned her at 2 a.m. to reprimand her for failing to properly cover a pillow.” The Prime Minister’s office says the woman’s claims are false, and that she received warm and affectionate treatment from Mrs. Netanyahu.”

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