Menny Naftali, the former housekeeper in the Prime Minister’s Residence, on Tuesday evening held a press conference in which he responded to the Likud’s claims that the excessive spending of state funds in the Prime Minister’s Residence was because of him.
Naftali is suing Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu for alleged abuse he suffered while working for them.
The excessive spending was outlined in State Comptroller Yosef Shapira’s report, published earlier Tuesday, which found that the Prime Minister's Residence expenses went from 1.86 million shekels in 2009 to 2.4 million shekels in 2010, inflating further to 3.11 million in 2011. This ballooning trend stopped in 2012 when the expenses fells to 2.86 million shekels, and further to 2.41 million shekels in 2013.
Detailing the expenses further, the report found Netanyahu and his family ordered 71,851 shekels (over $18,000) in prepared meals in 2010, making up roughly a quarter of the food expenses of the Residence, despite having a cook on staff. That figure rose further to 92,781 shekels ($24,000) in 2011.
"I was shocked," Naftali said on Tuesday evening, after the Likud blamed him for the increased expenses. "I did not mean at all to get into this situation. I'm really hurt. I just cannot believe I got into this situation. I'm simply suing over being hurt at work. All the employees of the Prime Minister’s Office know exactly who Menny Naftali is.”
Attorney Naomi Landau, Naftali’s lawyer who was at his side at the press conference, said, "Mr. and Mrs. Netanyahu, shame on you."
"In his darkest dreams, Menny did not imagine that the Prime Minister and his wife would lie to the public, in a criminal way, and will conduct a personal campaign to tarnish his image at all costs just because Menny Naftali seeks to exhaust his statutory rights as an employee,” she continued.
"Mr. Netanyahu, do you blame Mr. Menny Naftali for the purchase of hundreds of bottles of alcohol and countless candles?" said Landau. "Does your political goal justify the means? How dare you tie Menny Naftali to the expenses of your official residence in Jerusalem and in your private home in Caesarea, which is financed by public money?"
Naftali, who sat next to his attorney, said later at the press conference, “Most people who meet me, if it’s on the street, if it's neighbors, if it’s my mother or my father, they tell me, ‘Menny, be smart, do not be right. Take what they give you and go away.’ I'm currently not going to comment on the data [in the Comptroller’s report] and I will explain it right after I go over it. There are things in the report that have nothing to do with me. I lasted there for 20 months at a time when no employee lasted more than a year. you will hear the whole story later.”
Naftali was asked by reporters why the Prime Minister’s Residence expenses increased while he was working for the Netanyahus and why they significantly went down after he left. Naftali then stammered a bit, promised to study the issue and was immediately interrupted by his attorney who instructed him to conclude his remarks.