Israeli premier's wife goes on trial over corruption
Israeli premier's wife goes on trial over corruption
An Israeli F-16 warplane takes off to a mission in Lebanon from an air force base in northern Israel in
10 October, 2018, 05:24
Sara Netanyahu allegedly misused around $100,000 (approximately Rs 68 lakh) of official funds for catering services at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem. The woman was accused of fraud under aggravating circumstances, violating the public trust and forgery.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu stand next to the dedication plaque of the USA embassy in Jerusalem, after the dedication ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. The trial is expected to run for months. Mr Netanyahu has vowed not to step down if indicted and, so far, his right-wing Likud party has continued to back him. In 2016, a court ruled she abused a housekeeper and awarded the man $42,000 in damages.
The corruption cases against the first family have garnered widespread media attention inside Israel.
The indictment is one of a series of scandals encircling the prime minister and his family, and threatening to solidify their reputation as overindulgent and out of touch with the Israeli people. Although her husband, Binyamin Netanyahu, was at these meals the police found no evidence that he was aware of the alleged fraud and he is not mentioned in the indictment.
Sara Netanyahu has in the past said that her "blood has been spilled publicly".
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But there are potentially more serious allegations facing Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ms Netanyahu's lawyers argue the charges don't hold up because the regulations for ordering meals were legally invalid and a household employee had requisitioned the food despite Ms Netanyahu's protestations.
But the case has again turned the spotlight on the Netanyahu family and past allegations of misbehavior.
Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leaves the Magistrate's Court in Jerusalem al-Quds on October 7, 2018.
Looking tense as she walked into yesterday's hearing, she made no comment to reporters and sat on a bench behind her lawyers.
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Mrs Netanyahu's attorneys oppose the panel option.
This will be the fourth such meeting between the two leaders this year; they last met in July in Moscow, but have had several telephone conversations since that time. She shook her head as the prosecutor described the gravity of her case. Mrs Netanyahu maintains her employees did this without her knowledge. If convicted, Netanyahu could face up to five years in prison.
On Friday police quizzed him for a 12th time as a suspect in the cases.
The allegations against Mr Netanyahu include trying to strike a secret deal with the publisher of Israel's top newspaper for favourable coverage in exchange for supporting a law that would limit the main rival's circulation.
There is also an ongoing inquiry into his ties with local telecoms giant Bezeq and its largest shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, according to Israeli media.
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