Israeli President Shimon Peres criticised Wednesday what he said was excessive coverage by the Israeli media of a lawsuit filed against the wife of Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, saying it was preventing the prime minister from concentrating on affairs of state, DPA reported.
Netanyahu was also right to ask reporters to make a distinction between his private life and his public life, Israel Radio quoted Peres as saying.
Netanyahu's wife, Sarah, is being sued by a former employee, Lillian Peretz, who claims that while working for Mrs Netanyahu she was "abused," "humiliated," and "exploited."
Peretz is demanding 300,000 shekels (around 80,000 dollars) compensation.
Netanyahu's office has termed Peretz's claims "lies and slander" and the prime minister himself, asked about the issue during a news conference in Berlin on Monday, requested that reporters leave his wife and children "out of the line of fire."
Peretz's story was blazed across the front-page of the mass- circulation Yediot Ahronoth daily Friday, sparking reporting frenzy in Israel as other media outlets picked up on it.
One commentator - from a rival newspaper - even suggested that Peretz's story - which has still to be proven true in a court of law - indicated that Netanyahu was unfit to lead the country,
According to the allegations reported in Yediot, Sara Netanyahu paid Lillian Pertz less than the minimum wage, expected her to be on call 24 hours day, and forced her to work on Saturdays, even though Peretz observed the Jewish commandment of not working on the Sabbath.
On one occasion, Peretz alleges, Sara Netanyahu even called her at 2 in the morning to ask why a pillow case did not properly cover a pillow, and on the eve of one Jewish holiday insisted the housekeeper come to the Netanyahu house to iron the undergarments of Netanyahu's son, Avner, and some shirts of the prime minister.
The allegations also state that Peretz was forced to bring four sets of cloths to work - for doing laundry, for cleaning the bathroom and showers, for cleaning the rooms, and for cleaning the kitchen.
Sara Netanyahu, a psychologist and former flight attendant, is the prime minster's third wife. Until the Peretz allegations surfaced, she kept a relatively low profile during the premier's second term in office, which began in March last year.
During his first term however, from 1996 to 1999, she was often in the headlines, for actions which, although in no way threatening her husband's premiership, tarnished his standing and ranged from firing a nanny for allegedly burning the soup, allegedly throwing shoes at a maid and allegedly screaming at staff.