Sara Netanyahu's fraud and breach of trust trial begins in Jerusalem

Sara Netanyahu's fraud and breach of trust trial begins in Jerusalem

In 2016, the Israel police questioned Sara Netanyahu on the so-called "case of the Prime Minister's residence" more than 10 hours.

Sara, wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, appears at a court hearing in the fraud trial against her, at the Magistrate court in Jerusalem October 7, 2018.

According to rules, meals can not be ordered from the prime minister's residence when a cook is employed.

The Netanyahus have hit back, calling reports grossly unfair smear attempts; Sara Netanyahu has in the past said that her "blood has been spilled publicly".

According to the indictment filed in June by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, Sara Netanyahu was aware that she was violating the rules when she ordered the meals.

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According to her charge sheet, she fraudulently obtained some 100,000 USA dollars of public funds for hundreds of meals supplied by well-known restaurants and chefs to the official Prime Minister's Residency in Jerusalem while falsely stating that there were no cooks or staff at home.

The right-wing prime minister has held the job for a total of more than 12 years, first from 1996 to 1999 and again beginning in 2009. In one case, the prime minister is suspected of accepting lavish gifts from a pair of billionaire friends.

Mr Netanyahu, Israel's political kingpin on track to become the country's longest-serving prime minister, has accrued a long list of detractors during his decades as a political operative from Israel to Washington.

In addition, Sara used state funds to pay waiters to serve the meals on weekends and during private events, according to prosecutors, who said the hand-picked waiters were registered as "extra manpower" or "cleaners" to hide the fact that they were being illegally employed.

In that case, Benjamin Netanyahu is alleged to have sought favourable coverage from another Elovitch company, the Walla news site, in exchange for government policies that could have benefited the mogul's interests to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. If Mr Netanyahu were to step down, polls show one possible replacement would be hard-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who has proposed annexing much of the occupied West Bank and openly opposes Palestinian statehood.

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