A stormy tape recording has surfaced of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife screaming at an aide nearly a decade ago, the second such embarrassing leak to hit the Netanyahu family this month.
On Sunday, the Israeli site Walla! News posted a tape recording it said featured Sara Netanyahu, the wife of the Israeli leader, losing her temper in a 2009 telephone call with an unnamed senior aide of the Netanyahu family who had placed a news item about her in a newspaper gossip column.
“The Fury, The Screams and Losing Control: Sara Netanyahu As You’ve Never Heard Before,” read the headline accompanying the recording.
Previously, in early January, Israeli television aired secretly recorded audio of Netanyahu’s son and his friends after a visit to a strip club in 2015. In the recording, Yair Netanyahu, then 24, spoke about money owed for a “prostitute” and claimed his father had lobbied for a gas deal benefiting his friend’s businessman father.
It comes as the Israeli leader faces weekly street protests and calls for him to resign as police investigate him for suspected corruption. Netanyahu denies all wrongdoing.
Prime Minister Netanyahu accused the media of seeking to topple him from power.
“The secret recording published today in the media is the continuation of the wild and violent witch hunt raging against my family,” Netanyahu wrote. “Is there anyone who has not gotten angry and said some words he did not intend to in the heat of the moment?”
In the recorded rant that surfaced Sunday, Mrs. Netanyahu is furious over the newspaper blurb about her appearance at a charity event to support underprivileged students at her sons’ high school. She was apparently mad the column did not mention that she is a professional psychologist who serves the public.
“We have to help the Darfur refugees,” she says, seemingly mockingly. This part of the recording is unclear; several hundred asylum-seekers from Darfur have sought refuge in Israel.
“I’m doing it! As an professional, as an ed-u-cated woman! A psy-cho-lo-gist!” Netanyahu screams, punching out every syllable. “B.A! M.A!” She adds, noting her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The aide replies that “that idiot,” apparently the newspaper editor, must have removed a line from the first sentence that Mrs. Netanyahu is a psychologist.
“Is he getting a call reprimanding him now?” she asks. Then she goes on to quote another line from the column that the role of Prime Minister’s wife “requires public service.”
“Why? Why?” she says in a rising tone, then screams: “This prime minister’s wife does public service every day!”
For years, Netanyahu’s wife has faced negative media coverage, being portrayed as mercurial and conniving.
Last week, Israeli media reported the Israeli Chief of Protocol, who presided over the ceremony welcoming Vice President Mike Pence to Jerusalem, had been summoned for a disciplinary meeting by the Foreign Ministry after he gave an interview to the Haaretz newspaper claiming Mrs. Netanyahu had mistakenly been referred to during Pence’s visit as the “First Lady,” a term not officially used in Israel.
She has also been accused of abuse and mistreatment from former employees of the Prime Minister’s residence.
In 2016, one former caretaker at the residence won about $43,000 in a lawsuit against Mrs. Netanyahu, accusing her of verbal and emotional abuse. The former caretaker said she once called him at 3 a.m. to berate him over the kind of milk he had purchased, and threw a vase of flowers on the floor claiming they were not fresh enough.
The Netanyahus argued he was a disgruntled former employee angry he had not received tenure in his job.