Sara Netanyahu finally indicted on fraud charges for ordering $100k worth of meals from gourmet restaurants while cook was on staff

Sara Netanyahu


Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was indicted on Thursday for alleged “systematic fraud” involving hundreds of thousands of shekels in connection with meal expenses incurred at the Prime Minister’s Residence.

Sara Netanyahu was charged along with Ezra Saidoff, a former deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office. The two are charged in an indictment filed at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court with aggravated fraudulent receiving of an item or items, fraud and breach of trust. Saidoff was also charged with falsification by a public servant.

According to the indictment, the prime minister’s wife instructed staff at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem to order meals consumed at the residence worth a total of 350,000 shekels ($96,000) from gourmet restaurants between 2010 and 2013 in violation of rules barring the residence from ordering meals from the outside during periods when there was a cook on its staff.

Investigators in the case gathered evidence that purportedly shows that the prime minister’s wife ordered that the employment of the cook be concealed and also showed that she was aware that ordering meals from the outside for the residence when it employed a cook was a violation of the rules.

According to the indictment, Sara Netanyahu directed staff at the residence, including the chief maintenance superintendent at the time, Meni Naftali, and another employee, Meir Cohen, to hide the fact that cooks were employed in the residence “so that this won’t be found out by the treasury and the office manager.” The indictment states that in accordance with her order, Naftali passed the message on to other residence staff. The prosecution alleges that the prime minister’s wife ordered that the cook be listed at the residence as a maintenance staff person.

Sara Netanyahu indictment


In July 2015, a probe was initiated after the State Comptroller’s Office issued a report on the Netanyahu family households. Its findings were turned over for criminal investigation by the national fraud squad at the Israel Police.

The investigation looked into a series of alleged irregularities,including public funding for at least 15 privately catered meals and falsification of the number in attendance; a maintenance worker at the residence who was allegedly paid by the state but retained as a live-in nurse for Sara Netanyahu’s father, and the case of an electrician who was a member of the prime minister’s Likud party who was hired to perform work at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem and at the Netantyahu family’s home in Caesarea, despite the prohibition against hiring a Likud activist under the circumstances. According to the investigation, the electrician, Avi Fahima, received higher fees than those he was eligible for.

The Justice Ministry said in a statement that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit decided to adopt recommendations from the criminal prosecutor in the Jerusalem District prosecutor’s office and from State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan advising that arguments made by Sara Netantyahu’s lawyer at a pre-indictment hearing be rejected.

With the concurrence of Nitzan, the Jerusalem prosecutor’s office also rejected arguments made by Saidoff’s lawyer at a hearing against the filing of an indictment against his client.

The falsification allegations against Saidoff relate to the employment of chefs at private gatherings, the employment of waiters at the Prime Minister’s Residence, and the falsification of attendance records and invoices submitted to the Prime Minster’s Office for payment, the Justice Ministry statement said.

Other aspects of the investigation were closed after no suspicion of criminal wrongdoing was found. This included patio furniture taken from the official residence to the couple’s private home in Caesarea, the purchase of thousands of dollars’ worth of scented candles at official expense, and retaining thousands of shekels from proceeds from returned deposit bottles allegedly returned to supermarkets in Jerusalem over the course of several years on Sara Netanyahu’s orders.

In September 2017, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced he would file an indictment against Ezra Saidoff and Sara Netanyahu subject to a pre-indictment hearing. The hearing was held for the prime minister’s wife in January and was followed by negotiations over a possible plea agreement. The indictment of Sara Netanyahu followed unsuccessful attempts to reach agreement with prosecutors after she refused to agree to pay the residence for the value of the meals and to admit to the allegations against her.

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Methodists Bring Church Charges Against Jeff Sessions For Border Policy

More than 600 clergy and lay members of the United Methodist Church have signed a letter bringing church charges against fellow member Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the zero tolerance immigration policy that has resulted in the separation of undocumented children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The formal accusation, issued on Monday, charges Sessions with numerous violations of the denomination’s Book of Discipline, including child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and, for his citation of Romans 13 to defend the policy, the dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of the UMC.  

Those who signed the complaint letter claim that Sessions’ “tremendous social/political power,” his role as a Sunday school teacher and the “severe and ongoing” effects of his actions compel them to call for accountability. 

“As members of the United Methodist Church, we deeply hope for a reconciling process that will help this long-time member of our connection step back from his harmful actions and work to repair the damage he is currently causing to immigrants, particularly children and families,” the letter states.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment directly on the church charges against Sessions. She said, “The AG’s comments on Scripture were not to justify the policy but in response to other criticism.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses cadets at the Lackawanna College Police Academy in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on June 15. Hundreds of his fellow United Methodist Church members are bringing church charges against him for separating immigrant families. (Pacific Press / Getty Images)Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses cadets at the Lackawanna College Police Academy in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on June 15. Hundreds of his fellow United Methodist Church members are bringing church charges against him for separating immigrant families. (Pacific Press / Getty Images)

In May, Sessions announced that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are aiming to prosecute 100 percent of cases of illegal border crossings, regardless of whether those involved are fleeing persecution or traveling with children. The U.S. government separated nearly 2,000 children from their parents in April and May as a result of this policy, placing the minors in shelters or with extended family members while their parents are prosecuted. 

Sessions has drawn widespread condemnation after using a chapter from the Bible to respond to religious critics of the policy. 

“Concerns raised by our church friends about separating families” are “not fair or logical,” he said in a speech in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

“I have given the idea of immigration much thought and have considered the arguments of our church leaders,” Sessions continued. “I do not believe Scripture or church history or reason condemns a secular nation-state for having reasonable immigration laws. If we have them, then they should be enforced.”

Tents used to detain immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents, in Tornillo, Texas, June 18. The U.S. government separated nearly 2,000 children from their parents in April and May after they crossed the border without authorization. (Mike Blake / Reuters)Tents used to detain immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents, in Tornillo, Texas, June 18. The U.S. government separated nearly 2,000 children from their parents in April and May after they crossed the border without authorization. (Mike Blake / Reuters)

The United Methodist Church is the third-largest religious denomination in the U.S., with over 7 million lay members. Sessions is a member of a Methodist church in Mobile, Alabama, and attends services at another Methodist church in Virginia. HuffPost has reached out to the pastors of both congregations for comment but has not heard back.

According to United Methodist News, the denomination’s official news site, it’s rare for Methodists to bring formal charges against a layperson. Complaints that come up are typically resolved at the local level, after a member’s pastor and district superintendent offer counseling. If the complaint isn’t resolved, it’s possible for charges to result in a church trial and even expulsion. This has reportedly never happened in the church’s history.

The Rev. David Wright, a UMC pastor and chaplain at the University of Puget Sound in Washington state, was the primary organizer of the letter against Sessions. Wright told United Methodist News that he doesn’t want Sessions to be expelled from the denomination but is hoping the charges result in Sessions’ being called in for pastoral counseling. 

“I hope his pastor can have a good conversation with him and come to a good resolution that helps him reclaim his values that many of us feel he’s violated as a Methodist,” Wright said.

Children at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Rio Grande City, Texas, on June 17. Defending the administration’s harsh immigration enforcement policies, Sessions cited a verse from the Bible. (Customs and Border Protection / Reuters)Children at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Rio Grande City, Texas, on June 17. Defending the administration’s harsh immigration enforcement policies, Sessions cited a verse from the Bible. (Customs and Border Protection / Reuters)

Many Christian leaders have rejected Sessions’ interpretation of Romans 13 and spoke out against the zero tolerance policy, including the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church.

“Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm,” the council said in a June 7 statement. “Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.”

Sessions’ Mobile church, Ashland Place, is part of the UMC’s Alabama–West Florida Conference, which has also been critical of the policy. A spokeswoman for the conference declined to comment to HuffPost about the charges brought against Sessions, saying that details about any complaint are confidential.

In a statement released Monday, the conference’s Bishop David Graves decried separating children from their parents as “unjust acts.”  

“I implore congress and the current administration to do all in their power to reunite these families,” he said. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Video: What’s Happening to Children at Border Detention Facilities

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No Charges For Teacher Who Drowned Raccoons In Front Of Students

A high school teacher in Ocala, Florida, who was caught on camera getting his students to help him drown raccoons and an opossum will face no criminal charges for the incident.

The state attorney’s office announced its decision Friday, The Ocala-Star Banner reported. In a letter explaining the decision, Assistant State Attorney Toby Hunt wrote that now-retired agricultural science teacher Dewie Brewton “did not intend to torture or torment” the animals.

Brewton sparked widespread backlash earlier this month after a video surfaced of him and a group of students at Forest High School putting a raccoon inside a metal trap into a garbage bin and filling the bin with water. The student who shot the video came home crying about the experience, his mother told local media at the time. The mother said that Brewton and the students had metal rods they used to hold the animals down when they attempted to come up for air.

The following local newscast, which contains some footage from the incident, may be disturbing to some viewers.

The teacher and students believed that raccoons were responsible for the deaths of multiple chickens being raised behind the school.

The school placed Brewton on administrative leave, and Superintendent Heidi Maier called for him to be fired. Instead, Brewton, who taught at the school for 31 years, announced his retirement on May 17.

It’s legal in Florida to kill “nuisance” wildlife, but the law specifies that the killing must be done in a “humane” way. Florida law states that “humane” is defined by the standards of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians or the American Veterinary Medical Association. The AVMA, as the Star-Banner notes, explicitly says that drowning is an “unacceptable” form of euthanasia.

Hunt also noted that student involvement in the act complicated the possibility of prosecution.

“The majority of the video is of the students performing these acts,” Hunt’s letter statement said. “A number of parents contacted by FWC indicated that they did not want their children involved in this investigation. In order to introduce these videos into evidence, the state would need someone who was present at the incident to authenticate the videos before they would be admitted into evidence.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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What’s Next For Harvey Weinstein After Rape Charges


Harvey Weinstein has been formally charged with rape and sexual abuse after turning himself in to police in New York.

It’s the first criminal case against the disgraced Hollywood producer, who was first accused of sexual misconduct seven months ago.

Here’s what we know about the charges and what comes next.

Weinstein has been charged with two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sexual act.

The rape charge involves a woman who has not come forward publicly.

He’s accused of confining her in a Manhattan hotel room and raping her in 2013, according to a court complaint.

The criminal sex act charge stems from a 2004 encounter between Weinstein and Lucia Evans, a then-aspiring actress.

Evans told The New Yorker magazine he forced her to perform oral sex during a daytime meeting in his office.

The prosecutor told the court Weinstein had used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually.

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Austria Charges 17 Identitarians over ‘Hate Speech’ and ‘Criminal Activities’


Austrian prosecutors announced criminal charges Monday against 17 members of the “Identitarian Movement” (IBÖ) connected to several of the group’s activities in recent years.

The state prosecutor in the city of Graz said 10 prominent members of the group and seven other “active sympathisers” were being charged with various counts of hate speech, criminal association, damage to property and coercion.

The charges follow raids last month at the houses of several members of the group, including one of its leaders Martin Sellner.

The group has staged several stunts in recent years to publicise what prosecutors called its “xenophobic ideology”.

One such event cited by prosecutors was an incident in March 2017 where members gained access to the roof of the Turkish embassy and hung a banner from it bearing the slogan: “Erdogan, take your Turks back home”.

Another example from June 2016 is mentioned in which members stormed the stage during a talk on refugee policy at Klagenfurt University and unrolled banners reading “Stop Immigration” and “Integration is a lie”.

Sellner, 29, was prevented from entering the UK in March, with authorities judging his presence would not have been “conducive to the public good”.

Last month he took part in an action near the French-Italian border in which far-right activists blocked a mountain pass in protest at the rise in migrants crossing the Alps.

Let us simplify this for you! You, the natives of Europe, either love, embrace and ask for more non-European immigrants into Europe, OR TO THE JAILS WITH YOU, YOU “XENOPHOBIC NAZIS”.

Democracy needs to end, these people need to be locked up and have the keys thrown away for what they are doing to us now. They are genociding Europeans and jailing the people who oppose it. You are not allowed to have an opinion or a taste. What’s next? To the jails with you if you don’t like a specific kind of food???

There is no free will anymore. This is not what God has intended. God gave us all free will but these vile demons from hell are forcing the people to do exactly as they wish or else. Let us all call on God to intervene as the balance is unequal anymore, the system is cheated and free will has been robbed from us. Do not expect God to answer though as he is an expert on not answering and remaining silent but just keep insisting, keep praying, maybe someday he will intervene and help us all.

What is shocking is that all of these things are happening now in Austria under a NATIONALIST GOVERNMENT! WTF? Why isn’t Sebastian doing anything?



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Prosecutors add lewd conduct charges to tortured kids case

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors on Thursday added four charges of lewd conduct against a father accused of torturing his children in a Northern California home where prosecutors say 10 children lived in filth and neglect.

The charges against the 29-year-old man were filed as he and his 31-year-old wife appeared in Solano County Superior Court.

The father faces nine counts of felony child abuse, seven counts of felony torture and four counts of lewd conduct on a child under 14.

The mother faces nine counts of felony child abuse and one count of child neglect involving all 10 children. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say the children were punched, kicked, strangled, shot with a BB gun and subjected to waterboarding by their father, while their mother did nothing to stop it.

The Associated Press is not naming the parents to protect the identity of the children, in line with AP’s policy to avoid identifying victims of alleged sexual abuse.

Records show the 10 children removed from the house on March 31 are 6 months to 12 years old,

Documents filed in the case do not specify the injuries sustained by each child.

Prosecutors have not elaborated on the case since announcing last week that they had removed the children from the home where they say torture was carried out “for sadistic purposes.”

Fairfield police found the children huddled on the living room floor of the two-story home that was littered with feces and trash in the suburb 46 miles (74 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, prosecutors said.

“The children appeared to be skittish and spoke with speech impediments,” prosecutor Veronica Juarez wrote in a request last week to raise the father’s bail to $5.2 million.

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