The Israeli media quoted an unnamed staff member as saying that former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu destroyed official documents before Naftali Bennett took office.
According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Netanyahu, who became the leader of the opposition after 12 years in power, violated the law. Earlier employees stated that Netanyahu had ordered the smashing of documents and materials kept in office safes. .
According to Israeli law, documents created or received by civil servants in the course of their work belong to the state and must be stored in the office. If they are stored elsewhere, they will be returned. When an official leaves office, the documents and materials shall be labeled and sent to the National Archives.
All public or private documents in the hands of civil servants should be kept in the files of the office, especially documents related to professional affairs.
It is unclear what type of documents, or how many, Netanyahu had destroyed. Haaretz reported that the material was kept in safes in the aquarium, a sealed area in the office where the prime minister and his senior officials meet.
The paper said that the documents and schedules of senior officials are usually kept in a safe. Some documents have been sent to the archives for archiving, after which Naftali Bennett and his senior assistants can access them.
A Netanyahu spokesperson said the story was “a total lie. No such thing ever happened.” The prime minister’s office said it was “unfamiliar with this issue,” but would look into it.
Senior legal sources told Haaretz that “what happened in Netanyahu’s office is extremely unusual. Even personal documents, for instance, officials’ schedules, are supposed to stay in the archives, with limited access for the new prime minister and his staff.”
Netanyahu will remain in the prime minister’s residence in Balfour Street in West Jerusalem for an “adjustment period” lasting a few more weeks.
He will then head back with his wife, Sarah, and his children to his home in the upscale coastal town of Caesarea. He is planning to return and live in Jerusalem once security arrangements around his house in the city are completed.