Monday, January 18, 2010

PM Netanyahu defends his wife and calls on press to leave his family alone

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu chose Berlin Monday as the venue to relate publicly for the first time to the law suit filed against his wife that was splashed across Friday's Yediot Ahronoth, saying he had no doubt that the "truth behind this libel would come out."

"When someone goes into public life he expects that he will be the target of attacks," Netanyahu said when asked about the matter at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "But I think that he also can expect that there will be a limit to the attacks. A person's wife and children, his family, are not in the line of fire. Or, at least, they should not be placed in the line of fire."

Netanyahu, slamming Yediot without mentioning the paper by name, said he wanted to express his appreciation to those journalists who did not take part in what he said was an "unbridled and unjust attack on my wife."

The prime minister also made clear that, despite what has been said in the media over the last few days, his wife was not involved in the day-to-day running of the state, and to say otherwise was simply "absurd."

"But there is one area in which she does have influence on me," he said. "She tells me to be more attentive to others; to be attentive to the needs of seniors, children and Holocaust survivors; to be a better father, a better son, and a better friend."

Netanyahu accredited his wife with making him more sensitive and being a "more humane prime minister."

To critics who Netanyahu said were attacking his wife in order to undermine him, Netanyahu said, "Direct your attacks at me. Leave my wife and children alone."