In his first remarks on the lawsuit filed against his wife by a former housekeeper, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, "You don't put the wife, the kids or the family in the line of fire. At least you shouldn't put them in the line of fire."
Netanyahu was asked about the affair during a press conference in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel, and decided to break his silence, saying, "When a person enters life in the public eye, he expects to be the subject of attacks. But I think that he can also expect there to be limits to the attacks."
According to the lawsuit, Sara Netanyahu would abuse former housekeeper Lillian Peretz and pay her less than minimum wage. Among other things, the lawsuit claims that: "Lillian was forced to bring four sets of clothes with her to work: A set for laundry, a set for cleaning the toilets and showers, a set for cleaning the bedrooms, and a fourth set for cleaning the kitchen. If she would dare break Netanyahu's clear orders, the latter would shout and lose her senses."
The prime minister called the affair: "An unrestrained and unjustified attack" on his wife. "I have no doubt that the truth behind this scheme will come to light soon."
Netanyahu went on to stress that: "My wife Sara does not interfere in state business. But there is one field in which she does have an influence on me, she tells me, 'Be more attentive to others. Be attentive to the needs of the elderly and the needs of children and Holocaust survivors'. She tells me 'Be a better father, a better son, be a better friend.' In this sense she has a very strong influence on me."
'Sara makes me more sensitive'
"I think she helps me be a more sensitive person and a more humane prime minister, and for this I am indebted to her, and for the support she has given me over the years, and the heavy personal price she has had to pay for standing by me," he said in sum, and implored his rivals: "Aim your fire at me. Leave my wife and kids alone."
Up until now, the prime minister has refrained from commenting on the affair. A statement published by his office on Friday said "This is a fallacious claim laden with slander and fabrications about the prime minister's wife, aimed at hurting her husband and herself."
The response rejected all of the complainant's claims, and stated that Peretz "received warm and loving treatment." Sara Netanyahu noted that Peretz opened her letter of resignation with the words: "To the Netanyahu family, Bibi and Sara! I submit my resignation from my position at the Caesarea house with much love and appreciation."