Israeli prime minister’s wife charged with misusing government funds

Israeli prime minister’s wife charged with misusing government funds
Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been charged with misusing around $100,000 in Israeli government funds. If she is convicted, Sara Netanyahu could face a maximum of five years in prison. (Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was charged Thursday with misusing around $100,000 in Israeli government funds.

What are the charges?

Prosecutors have charged Sara Netanyahu with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly using public funds to buy expensive meals from celebrity chefs for herself and her family at their official residence. This reportedly occurred while the Netanyahus had their own personal chef at the residence.

Sara Netanyahu was charged with trying “to circumvent the rules and conditions” related to the prime minister’s residence “in order to fraudulently obtain state funding for various expenses for the accused and her family that were not supposed to be financed in this manner.”

If she is convicted, Sara Netanyahu could face a maximum of five years in prison.

What else?

Benjamin Netanyahu has faced his own share of legal difficulties, including several police investigations into alleged corruption.

Among other things, the prime minister has been accused of using his position to give millions of dollars of benefits to a telecommunications company in return for positive news coverage. However, when it comes to Benjamin Netanyahu, none of those investigations have resulted in any actual charges.

What did the Israeli prime minister say?

Benjamin Netanyahu posted a message on his official Facebook page, slamming the charges Thursday. According to a partial translation by ABC News, the post called the charges “baseless and delusional.”

“This is the first time in Israel and in the world that the wife of a leader is brought to justice over food trays,” the post continued. “There was no fraud or breach of trust here or deceptively receiving things or any other crime.”

What’s next?

These charges could pressure Benjamin Netanyahu to resign, but this seems unlikely. In 1977, Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin resigned when his wife was facing an indictment, but so far the Netanyahus seem defiant.

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air also pointed out that the case against Sara Netanyahu seems a bit shaky. It relies in part on proving that the family had their own chef at the residence during the time period that she was buying meals with government money.