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Who Fired the Prime Minister’s Nanny? The Soup Thickens...

July 7, 1996

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Who was responsible for firing Tania Shaw, the nanny for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s children?

Was it ``security officials″ who recommended Shaw’s dismissal, as Sarah Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife says?

``Not us,″ senior officials of the Shin Bet security service said in Sunday’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper. The agency, they said, was furious at being dragged into the Netanyahus’ nanny nightmares.

Mrs. Netanyahu reportedly threw Shaw out on the street after she burned a pot of vegetable soup. ``The reporters are lying,″ the first lady says.

Netanyahu spokesman Shai Bazak tried to clarify statements last week suggesting the Shin Bet had recommended the nanny’s dismissal on grounds of ``serious problems of instability.″ Bazak said only security guards stationed at Netanyahu’s home recommended the nanny be kept out of the house _ not the Shin Bet as a whole.

Bazak and Mrs. Netanyahu accused Shaw of ``outbursts.″

Shaw maintained in media interviews that Mrs. Netanyahu was the mercurial one _ charges echoed by Heidi Ben-Yair, another former nanny in the Netanyahu household.

Shaw and Ben-Yair have described Mrs. Netanyahu as obsessed with cleanliness, requiring everyone to wash their hands before touching the children and insisting the clothesline and clothespins be washed before the laundry was hung out to dry.

Mrs. Netanyahu has said she keeps a clean house, but the rest is ``nonsense.″

The media’s fascination with Israel’s relatively youthful first couple continued Sunday with reports of Netanyahu’s 20-year friendship with a married American woman.

Interviewed in the Italian newspaper Corriera della Sera, Katherine Price-Mondadori described Netanyahu, 46, whom she met at a New York cocktail party, as a man who ``adores women, food and everything that’s `bello″ _ beautiful.

The story was picked up Sunday by Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s top-selling daily, which ran a dated, front-page photograph of a smiling Netanyahu and the Mrs. Price-Mondadori at a table with wine and beer bottles.

Mrs. Price-Mondadori recalled how she and Netanyahu kept up their friendship: he would visit her in Capri, the sun-dappled island in the Bay of Naples, and she came to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has not commented directly on Sunday’s reports. But in recent days, he has bemoaned the press intrusion into his private life.

``When my wife goes down to take our son to kindergarten, there you are with your cameras. ...But that’s free press,″ he said. ``There’s a difference between that and excessive prying.″

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