Netanyahu’s Wife Questioned on ‘Housegate’ Allegations

YERUSHALAYIM -
A sukkah under construction outside the Prime Minister's residence on October 2, 2015. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
A sukkah under construction outside the prime minister’s residence on October 2, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, was questioned Thursday night in connection with alleged infractions on uses of state funds for unapproved purposes at the prime minister’s residence and the Netanyahus’ private home in Caesarea. The investigation was ordered by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein after a report by the state comptroller in early 2015 set off a media firestorm on the way she was managing affairs in the prime minister’s residence.

Many legal experts have termed the infractions “nonsense,” but in several statements, Weinstein’s office has said that an investigation into the alleged infractions would be proper because of the Netanyahus’ political standing. Weinstein opened a criminal investigation into the infractions, although most legal experts say that even if she is found guilty, the only penalties that can be imposed on Mrs. Netanyahu are financial.

The infractions include the alleged pocketing by Mrs. Netanyahu of money for bottles of beverages that were purchased with state funds and were returned by her to recycling centers, the alleged use of an electrician who was not vetted by the State Budget Office to repair several problems in the prime minister’s residence, the alleged use of government funds to buy medicines and pay for supplies for her father, who was living in the prime minister’s home at the time, and the alleged use of state funds to buy furniture and pay for repair services for the Netanyahus’ residence in Caesarea.

The Netanyahus had no comment on the questioning Thursday. In previous statements, Sarah Netanyahu has termed the scandal “a witch hunt,” and that all the services and items allegedly paid for by state funds were actually paid out of pocket by her and the Prime Minister from their personal bank accounts.