JERUSALEM, Jan. 20, 2010 -- The ongoing tabloid scandal concerning the Israeli prime minister's former cleaning lady has taken a bizarre new twist.
Lillian Peretz, who is suing Israeli first lady Sara Netanyahu for underpayment and abusive behavior, claimed she received a telephone death threat on Tuesday.
Flanked by her lawyer she filed a formal complaint at the police station in the northern city of Hadera, telling Israeli Channel 2 News, "Someone telephoned me and threatened my life."
Peretz claimed an anonymous male caller rang her mobile phone and said, "Are you Lillian Peretz, who is causing all this trouble? If you don't end this incident within 12 hours, you will be personally harmed. And that is from Bibi." According to Peretz the caller then hung up.
Peretz is suing Sara Netanyahu for over $80,000 claiming she did not receive a fair wage during her six years working for the family and that she was the victim of bullying and unreasonable behavior.
The prime minister's office has rejected Peretz claims and was quick to issue a statement Tuesday saying, "We strongly condemn any threat or other manifestation of illegal behavior...the prime minister and his wife have asked throughout this episode...that the matter be dealt with only in court. We call upon the police to investigate quickly who is behind the telephone call and to prosecute him to the full extent of the law."
Peretz spent two hours with the police Tuesday evening and later told journalists, "It's gone out of all proportion. I have children. I'm afraid. I don't know who is threatening me."
Police to Investigate Source of Phone Threat
Police said they would try and pursue the mystery caller by tracing calls to Peretz's mobile phone and would increase patrols near her home.
Hedva Yehezkeli, a friend of Peretz and a local councillor, told the Yedioth Aharanot newspaper, "Lillian has been frightened since she received that telephone call. I've known her for many years and I know she is telling the truth."