The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court decided Monday to accept a request by Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister's wife, to postpone the opening of her trial in the so-called "residence affair" by two and a half months.
Mrs. Netanyahu's attorney, Yossi Cohen, asked to postpone the July 19 hearing until the end of the courts' hiatus in September.
Cohen explained that on the same day, he needed to be present in a hearing in different case, where a sick elderly man is due to give early testimony.
The prosecution agreed to the postponement, and so the hearing was postponed until October 7.
Sara Netanyahu is suspected of ordering private meals worth some NIS 350,000 (roughly $96,600) from high-end restaurants with the state footing the bill, although a cook had been hired to prepare the meals at the residence. She was charged with fraudulently obtaining benefits under aggravated circumstances, fraud and breach of trust.
Another indictment was filed against former deputy director-general of the Prime Minister's Office Ezra Saidoff, who was charged with fraudulently obtaining benefits under aggravated circumstances, fraud and breach of trust, as well as falsifying documents in three different affairs at the Prime Minister's Residence.
A day after the indictment was filed against his wife, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dubbed it as "absurdity (that) hit a new record."
"For the first time in history, an indictment is filed against the wife of a leader over food and takeout," Netanyahu said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
"Forget the fact everyone ate from that food—the residence's employees, official guests, even heads of states. The most absurd thing about this indictment is that it's based on an illegal procedure," the prime minister added.
"Five days before I took the office of prime minister in 2009, three bureaucrats with no authorization set a special procedure. But they did not receive the approval required by law from the Knesset's Finance Committee, and only it has a say," he explained. "The committee determined the state needs to fund the expenses of the prime minister and his family at the prime minister's residence, just like in the president's residence."
Thus, he determined, "The indictment is based on an illegal procedure, and won't hold water."