- Netanyahu and his entourage take advantage of a free service, US officials claim
- Aides of both Obama and Trump have described the alleged laundry racket
- Diplomats deny the claim but Netanyahu has faced laundry questions before
Tim Stickings – Mail Online Sept 26, 2020
Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has a habit of bringing bags of dirty laundry with him on official visits to Washington, it was claimed last night.
Netanyahu takes advantage of a free laundry service available to all foreign leaders, US officials say.
While Israeli diplomats deny the allegation, Israeli media says the Washington Post report ‘matches years of reporting by Israeli journalists’ on the country’s longest-serving prime minister.
Netanyahu’s hold on power is under threat from far more serious graft allegations in Israel, where he is facing trial for allegedly accepting bribes and trading favours with the media and business world.
One official said the Netanyahus were ‘the only ones who bring actual suitcases of dirty laundry for us to clean’ on official visits.
‘After multiple trips, it became clear this was intentional,’ they said.
Netanyahu’s long career at the top of Israeli politics goes back to the 1990s and he has met with Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump on visits to the US, although he was out of office during the Bush years.
Another official said Netanyahu had been more sparing on his recent White House visit, where Israel signed historic peace accords with Bahrain and the UAE.
This time there were no suitcases of laundry, the official said – while the Israeli embassy said that use of the washing service had been minimal.
White House cleaners washed ‘a couple of shirts’ for the public meeting, a suit for the PM and a dress for his wife Sara, and a pair of pyjamas that Netanyahu wore on the long flight from Israel, the embassy said.
It added that the allegations of overusing laundry services in the past were ‘groundless and absurd’, and designed to distract from the historic peace deals.
But Netanyahu has gone into battle to protect his laundry secrets before, suing his own office in 2016 to stop it releasing his washing bills.
In a 27-page lawsuit he argued that an examination of his laundry would amount to ‘arbitrary interference with his privacy’.