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Netanyahu praises women of Israel but 'before everything else' lauds wife Sara

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu leave for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 23 2017.
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO
PM slams 'malicious and ridiculous slurs' about his wife Sara, as she becomes embroiled in corruption probes

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marked International Women’s Day by celebrating the contribution Israeli women have made to society and in particular heaping praise on his wife Sara, in a Facebook post published on Thursday.

“I would like to thank you - the women of Israel. The breakers of glass ceilings, all of you for everything you do in the different areas of your life,” Netanyahu wrote. “For everything you do for your families and for your tremendous contribution to our society and country,” he added.

“Although much work is still ahead, we have come a long way towards realizing full equality of rights and opportunities for women. I'm sure we'll finish the job,” the prime minister continued, acknowledging that there was more to be done.

The gender pay gap in Israel still remains pronounced. Women in Israel still earn less than men despite better education qualification. The Central Bureau of Statistics released data in November 2017 stating that women make 35% on average less than men. In a separate 2017 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report women accounted for 18.1% of all directors on corporate borders, under the 20% average for OECD countries.

The Israeli army, however has made headway in dealing with issues of gender inequality, making a effort to secure women’s access to top positions despite Orthodox opposition to female promotion and mixed-gendered units.

AFP

In his Facebook post, Netanyahu then turns to “the woman in my life”, referring to his “beloved wife, Sara.”

“She dedicates her whole life to our family, she is the rock of our lives. Beyond that, she also gives of herself to bereaved families, children suffering from cancer, elderly people and Holocaust survivors, battered women and lone soldiers,” the prime minister wrote.

“She does this in parallel to her work as a child psychologist in the public sector,” he added.

Sara Netanyahu has also become embroiled in the creeping corruption scandals that have engulfed the Israeli administration. Dozens of recent reports, since the police's interrogation, state that she was aware of certain gifts received in the surreptitious quid-pro-quo arrangements with some allegedly delivered upon her request.

Coined ‘Case 1000’ she, alongside her husband, are suspected of receiving gifts such as expensive champagne and cigars from wealthy businessmen including film producer Arnon Milchan and Australian casino mogul James Packer, in exchange for favorable government treatment.

In ‘Case 4000’ focuses on allegations that the owner of Israeli telecom giant Bezeq and Walla! News website, Shaul Elovitch, allegedly received concessions in favor of Bezeq in return for positive coverage of Netanyahu and his family.

The Times of Israel, citing Israeli media, recently reported about information regarding WhatsApp messages exchanged between Sara and Elovitch’s wife, Iris where the former questions why an unnamed Walla! editor had not been fired and ordered improvements to be made regarding the website’s coverage.

Addressing this very issue, Netanyahu concluded his post by slamming the media for responding to her multiple activities with “malicious and ridiculous slurs.”

He ended, “but many, many of you know the truth about her and give her love, respect and fantastic support.”

Last Friday, Sara and her husband were quizzed separately over the ongoing Bezeq telecom probe. Sara was interrogated at the police corruption headquarters, the Lahav 433 unit in Lod and the prime minister at his home in Jerusalem.

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