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ever before in its history mass-circulation Yediot Ahronot
had Israel known any- (Ma'ariv's chief competitor) and
both television channels, she
thing like it.
True, Paula Ben-Guri- portrayed herself as the victim
on was often described as in- of "lies, fabrications, and non-
corrigible and Leah Rabin took sense." She added, "It makes us
some healthy knocks from the very sad that we placed our
press after her illegal U.S. bank trust in a person whom we
account effectively forced her brought into our home, and in
husband to resign as prime min- whose hands we placed the
ister in 1977. (Actually he took thing most dear to us, our chil-
leave until the elections, which dren, and [who] violated that
Labor promptly lost.)
But neither of these
the blast directed at
Israel's new "First
Lady," Sarah Ne-
tanyahu, which has
been instantly dubbed
as Israel's "Nannygate."
The true, "objective"
facts will surely never be
known. Nor are they, in
the broader scheme of
things, particularly im-
portant. After being
summarily fired for
burning a pot of soup (or
so her version goes), 21-
year-old Tanya Shaw, a
new immigrant from
South Africa who had
been working for the Ne-
tanyahus as an au pair,
found her way to the of-
fices of the daily
Ma'ariv. There, she gave
a scathing portrait of
Mrs. Netanyahu as an
imperious Simon Legree
with the graciousness of
a Scrooge and a hand- Tanya Shaw during an interview in Tel Aviv after her
washing obsession of firing.
Lady Macbeth propor-
The entire affair might be dis-
The paper devoted four full missed as common gossip, but
news pages to Tanya's tale and not in Israel. Ironically, the
followed it with similar "testi- press there has traditionally
mony" by Heide Ben-Yair, an practiced almost prim discretion
earlier au pair; she had lasted a in handling the private lives of
mere week in the Netanyahu public figures. But that seems
to have changed.
household before walking out.
It is indicative, they say, not
At first, Mrs. Netanyahu left
the damage control to the Prime just of a changing style in both
Minister's Bureau, which issued politics and the media but of a
a brief statement claiming that more mutually destructive re-
the young woman was fired due lationship between the prime
to "problems of instability" and minister and the press.
Gossip about the Netanyahus'
on the recommendation of "se-
curity people." That last claim private life, past and present be-
remained intact even after a se- gan during the election cam-
nior security source denied that paign; stepped up during the
they had any complaint against coalition talks (when his wife
the au pair or even dealt with was said to be intervening in his
such matters. After the story be- choice of appointments); and
came the talk of the country, peaked last week with the nan-
and threatened to cast a pall ny scandal.
Some critics claim that Mr.
over the Netanyahus' trip to the
United States, Sarah Ne- Netanyahu himself whet the
tanyahu took up the battle.
Granting interviews to the
NANNYGATE page 44
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