The Bottle Deposit Scandal

I find it hard to believe that Israelis are seriously discussing how much money Sara Netanyahu “stole” from the government’s coffers by pocketing bottle deposit redemptions. As I understand it, the official residence of the prime minister consumes a lot of bottled drinks, and the deposit money on those bottles may have amounted to as much as a shocking $6,000 over the course of Netanyahu’s latest stint in the office. Yet, the Netanyahus only compensated the state for a paltry $1,000.

On the one hand, this is a story of a mistreated staffer who is suing over the many indignities he suffered while serving the Netanyahu family. Part of that was being forced to haul lots of recyclables around. And he had to turn the redemption money over to Sara, which isn’t how the accounting should have gone. Why was she so concerned about pocketing such an insubstantial amount of money? How does she treat the staff and what does that say about her husband?

On the other hand, we’re talking about, at most, $6,000 over many years. And, I mean, look at this:

Naftali claims that Benjamin Netanyahu was a witness to his wife’s frequent demands that the workers recycle the bottles — “including the bottles of Pellegrino water that he likes to drink” — and that he had to have been aware that the money from the redeemed deposits was being given to her and not to the state, and that the total amount was higher than the $1,000 that were repaid to Itzkovitz. According to Naftali, the guards from the Shin Bet’s VIP protection unit who surrounded the Netanyahus would be able to confirm the truth of his account to the police.

This is the pettiest bullshit, and it reminds me some of the dumbest attacks against the Clintons in the 1990’s. Yes, by all means, let’s have Israel’s equivalent of the Secret Service testify about how much Pellegrino the prime minister likes to drink.

And look at Haaretz:

The behavior of a senior public official’s spouse is usually the personal business of those concerned, and their privacy ought to be respected. But this rule should and even must be violated when the behavior in question affects the functioning of a public servant and reflects problematic norms of behavior, and all the more so when it raises suspicion of criminal activity.

The behavior of the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, with regard to redeeming deposits on recycled bottles – as reported on Thursday by Amir Oren in Haaretz – should not be dismissed as a trifle.

The Prime Minister’s Office admitted that “the Netanyahu family” gave the state a personal check for 4,000 shekels ($1,019) to cover the bottle deposits from 2009 to 2013. If the term “family” includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then that means he, too, was a party to this prima facie crime.

I mean, are you fucking kidding me?

1 comment for “The Bottle Deposit Scandal

  1. Paul
    February 3, 2015 at 4:36 pm


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