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October 23, 2019
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Netanyahu’s wife pleads guilty in illegally-ordered meals case

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara Netanyahu has pleaded guilty in a case concerning illegally ordered meals at the Prime Minister’s residence.

Israel’s Justice Ministry said in a statement the PM’s wife agreed to plead a deal in the case on Wednesday morning.

Sara Netanyahu agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of taking unfair advantage of a mistake, the Justice Ministry statement said. Initially, she was charged with fraud one year ago.

She will also pay 55,000 shekels (approximately $15,300) — 45,000 shekels back to the state, and 10,000 shekels in the form of a fine.

According to an amended indictment sheet, the case involved the ordering of catered meals delivered to the residence worth a total of 175,000 shekels (just under $50,000).

The food was ordered by Sara Netanyahu and Ezra Saidoff, the former manager of the residence, and paid for with state funds.

The orders were illegal under Israeli law because there was a cook employed at the residence at the time, whose job it was to cater for the prime minister, his family and their guests.

Sara Netanyahu also used state funds to pay waiters to serve the meals on weekends and during private events, according to the initial indictment filed last June.

The hand-picked waiters were registered as “extra manpower” or “cleaners” to hide the fact that they were being illegally employed, the indictment said.

Sara Netanyahu faced a maximum sentence of 8 years in prison. Her lawyers previously slammed the indictment, describing it as “false and hallucinatory”.