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Israeli PM's Wife Indicted for Fraud

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and His Wife, Sara, Photo, GPO, Avi Ohayon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and His Wife, Sara, Photo, GPO, Avi Ohayon

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, was indicted for fraud with aggravated circumstances and breach of public trust on Thursday in a case that's become known as the "Prepared Food Affair."

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit alleged that for 2-1/2 years Sara Netanyahu coordinated with the deputy director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, Ezra Seidoff, to falsely represent the situation so they could employ a cook as well as order out prepared meals.

According to regulations, it's permitted to order prepared food only if no cook is employed at the prime minister's residence.  But she allegedly ordered 359,000 shekels or about $100,000 worth of meals from September 2010 to March 2013.
Seidoff was also indicted.  

Sara is not expected to go to jail even if convicted. The prime minister is not expected to resign. Media reports have been quick to point out that the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin resigned in 1977 shortly before his wife was indicted on charges concerning a foreign bank account.

But Netanyahu has said that even if he himself is indicted on other charges he would not resign.  Legally, he is not obligated to do so.

The family has been plagued with threats of indictments for years. In one case, the prime minister and his wife are suspected of receiving extravagant gifts from a billionaire benefactor. A second case involves a supposed deal Netanyahu made with the publisher of one of Israel's largest circulation dailies in exchange for more favorable coverage.

Despite the corruption scandals, Netanyahu is extremely popular with the Israeli public.

All these allegations are taking place against the backdrop of probably the best relations ever between an Israeli prime minister and American president and the fact that at least the US has withdrawn from the Iranian nuclear deal.

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