'The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached a plea deal in a corruption case filed against her, agreeing to pay a fine in exchange for avoiding prison.
Sara Netanyahu today signed a plea deal with the Israeli State Prosecutor’s Office, after months of negotiations in what has become known as the “catering affair”. Sara was accused of receiving catered meals at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, at a cost of around 360,000 shekels ($100,000). This was allegedly done using Israeli taxpayers’ money, despite the fact that the residence employs a full-time cook.
Under today’s plea deal, Sara will admit to and be convicted of a criminal offense which, according to Haaretz, is defined as “receiving an item by intentionally exploiting another individual’s mistake but not through fraud”. She will pay a fine of 55,000 shekels ($15,000) that will be passed on to the Israeli state.
Compared to both the value of the catered meals alleged to have been received, and given the 50 million shekel ($13.9 million) personal wealth of Sara’s husband Benjamin Netanyahu, the fine is likely to be seen as little more than a token punishment.
The plea deal also means that Sara will not admit that she defrauded the state, will not be forced to attend a hearing and, ultimately, will avoid serving prison time. Had she been convicted of fraud, she could have faced up to three years in jail.
Today’s verdict will likely be seen as a victory for the Netanyahus, particularly given the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin currently faces his own hearing for three separate corruption cases.'
Read more: Israel: Netanyahu’s wife reaches plea deal in corruption case
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