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Israel's Netanyahu and wife testify in court

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a photo exhibition with his wife, Sara Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a photo exhibition with his wife, Sara Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife testified in court today that a journalist had invented a story that Sara Netanyahu once ordered her husband out of their car during a row.

Netanyahu, 67, described the report of the alleged incident as "ludicrous", "preposterous" and a complete fabrication. He said he and his wife had decided to bring a libel suit because they felt the journalist had gone too far and made it up.

Igal Sarna wrote on his Facebook page a year ago that an angry Sara Netanyahu had ordered the prime minister's convoy to stop on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway in the middle of the night because she did not want him in the car any longer.

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I am uncertain as to whether she threw him out or whether he ejected himself from the vehicle," Sarna told Netanyahu's lawyer during testimony at Tel Aviv's magistrates court.

Sarna said he had heard the story from a friend who heard it from another friend in the prime minister's security detail. He had decided not to call witnesses to substantiate his allegations so as not to get anyone in trouble.

Crossing the line

The original Facebook post gained only 1,500 shares, but the court case has garnered far more attention.

It has also raised questions about the influence of Sara Netanyahu, 58, in the prime minister's administration. Over the years, she has been involved in a number of lawsuits, either as a plaintiff or a defendant.

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"He crossed the line," Netanyahu said of Sarna, banging his fist on the stand. "It's a gross lie, absurd."

Asked if he always told the truth on Facebook, a medium the prime minister uses almost daily, the prime minister replied: "I try."

The judge would not allow Sarna's lawyers to ask the couple about their relationship or past incidents.

The Netanyahus are seeking damages of 280,000 shekels ($76,500), an apology and removal of Sarna's Facebook post, their lawyer said.

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