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Sara Netanyahu Faces Jerusalem Court in 'Prepared Food Affair'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, at a state memorial commemorating the death of Yoni Netanyahu in the operation to free Israeli hostages in Entebbe, Uganda, Photo, GPO archive, Amos Ben Gershom

JERUSALEM, Israel – Jerusalem Magistrate Court opened the trial of Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is accused of fraud and breach of trust in the "prepared food affair."
According to Israeli media, the trial, like the three-year investigation that produced the indictment, is expected to take months.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reportedly began investigating the charges following a 2015 State Comptroller's Office report of the first family's household expenses.
The indictment accuses Sara Netanyahu of ordering approximately $96,000 in take-out orders between 2010 and 2013 while there was a cook on staff to prepare meals.
Mandelblit also indicted former director general of the Prime Minister's Office Ezra Saidoff on similar charges.
Over many years, the Netanyahu family has borne the brunt of numerous accusations by the police and attorney general.
On Monday, the culture editor of the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Benny Ziffer, a close friend of the Netanyahu family, shared his perspective on this latest chapter with Arutz Sheva.
"This [the trial] is beyond the ridiculous and even humiliates the Israeli legal system," Ziffer told Arutz Sheva. "To think about the money that the trial itself and all that has to do with it, the investigations, the inquiries and the expeditions that have come and gone and examined the matter will cost, and what is it about? It's about something ridiculous."
Ziffer says it's more about the "systematic persecution" of the Netanyahu family than the charges themselves.
"According to the regulations that existed during the period under discussion, the prime minister's residence and the prime minister and his wife are supposed to be fed and provided for by the state, so there is nothing to complain about against the wife of the prime minister," he said.
Because Sara Netanyahu is not a public servant, she cannot be accused of fraud or breach of trust, he said. While the authorities can maybe come up with a charge against whoever signed for the deliveries, Ziffer doubts he thought he was doing anything illegal.
"Beyond this, there is a systematic persecution here of the prime minister and his wife. They are persecuting his wife to embarrass and topple the prime minister," he said.
"That is all and that's clear. Because if this were an isolated incident that was revealed, and they did a trial, it would have been logical, but here they have been digging in the trash cans of the Netanyahu couple's private lives for 20 years to charge them. When all the other charges fell, they were caught here with the only one that has not yet been refuted, but it will be refuted, in my opinion, with God's help in this trial."
On opening day of the trial, the prosecution asked for an expanded panel of three judges because of public interest.
Both the prime minister and his wife have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, calling the media coverage "fake news" and "a campaign of character assassination."
Meanwhile, the latest poll shows Netanyahu's Likud party gaining in the Knesset if elections were held now.

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