A corruption scandal could lead to sending Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to jail

netanyahu in hot waterA long-running corruption scandal in Israel has taken an explosive new turn, leading to the very real prospect that Israel’s long-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will lose his job — and even potentially be sent to jail.

Netanyahu, arguably Donald Trump’s closest ally in the Middle East, has been shadowed by allegations of financial improprieties for years, but has always stayed one step ahead of his pursuers. That seems to be changing.

The latest — and potentially decisive — blows to Netanyahu began last week with a pair of disclosures that stunned observers on both sides of Israel’s political spectrum.

On Thursday, court filings revealed Netanyahu was now officially a suspect in bribery, breach of trust, and fraud cases. Another shocker came that same day with news that Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, an Israeli-American named Ari Harow, took a plea bargain to become a state’s witness in a corruption case against his former boss. In exchange for a light sentence of community service, and a 700,000 shekel ($193,000) fine, Harow will now testify against Netanyahu.

It’s not just the prime minister — his whole household is under scrutiny: The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported on Monday that his wife, Sara Netanyahu, will likely be indicted soon for misuse of government funds.

For most politicians, those types of disclosures would mean it was a question of when, not if, their careers would end in disgrace. But Netanyahu has long been the phoenix of Israeli politics, and he angrily dismissed the new revelations. On Facebook he derisively called them “background noise.”

Miri Regev, the minister of sports and culture and a close Netanyahu ally, told the press, “I’m not worried at all. The prime minister is not worried either.”

So far many of Netanyahu’s allies have remained behind him. But if his legal woes continue, that could change. And while it’s still too early to assess the likelihood of incarceration, prison is not totally out of the question. After all former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was only just released from prison after serving 16 months for a different corruption charge.

To be sure, an indictment might not mean the end of Netanyahu’s political career. “Formally, he won’t have to resign,” Hebrew University law professor Barak Medina told the Associated Press. “[I]f all the information comes out and the police recommend he be charged with a serious crime, it is unlikely he will be able to carry on in his job.”

That wouldn’t just be bad news for Netanyahu, who is trying to surpass David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the modern Jewish State, as the longest-serving prime minister in his country’s history. It would also be bad news for President Donald Trump, who’d be losing his closest ally in the Middle East just as he prepares a major new peace initiative.

Netanyahu’s sure facing a lot of corruption investigations

There are so many separate corruption charges threatening to finally bring down Netanyahu that the Israeli press refers to them by numbers.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu is suspected to have colluded with Arnon Mozes, publisher of Israel’s daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot to undermine the circulation of Israel’s free daily paper, Israel HaYom. The latter is a free daily sponsored by American billionaire (and Republican king-maker) Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate with tremendous reach and influence on Israeli politics.

Back in January the police revealed they had tapes that would show what the Israel press called “a quid pro quo” deal between Mozes and Netanyahu. Mozes apparently promised to do “everything in his power” to keep Netanyahu in office, Netanyahu, in turn, appears to have indicated he would do what he could to limit Israel HaYom’s reach — some reports implied that might have meant through legislation.

The recordings were made by Ari Harow, the very same chief of staff who cut the deal last week.

Israeli police found those tapes, apparently unexpectedly, while searching Harow’s home for evidence that he had not fully divested himself from his own consulting firm before beginning work in the prime minister’s office. (Harow had officially transferred the firm to his brother, to avoid ethics violations; that gambit clearly failed).

In Case 1000, Arnon Milchan, a film producer, is said to have given large monetary gifts to Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. Further, Australian billionaire James Packer was said to have showered the couple with gifts and meals at their home in the Israeli coastal city Ceasaria. As Noam Sheizaf reported for Vox earlier this year, “in one incident reported by the Israeli media, Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, specifically demanded $2,700 worth of jewelry.”

For their part, the Netanyahu’s have said the gifts were merely (legal) gifts between friends. But, as Sheizaf pointed out, Milchan has a stake in Israel’s Channel 10 news, subject to regulation by the Israeli Ministry of Communications — which, itself, was run by Netanyahu until recently. And Netanyahu personally got involved in Milchan’s visa renewal process. None of it smelled quite kosher.

A third criminal investigation, Case 3000, involves the purchase of German submarines. This one is the most complicated, and has the most tenuous line to Netanyahu. Six people have been brought in for questioning, one of whom is Netanyahu’s personal lawyer who himself also represented the submarine manufacturer. Ha’aretz reported late last monththat “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal lawyer was due to earn tens of millions of shekels from an agreement, since suspended, to buy three submarines from Germany.”

Finally, Israeli authorities have long threatened to indict Sara Netanyahu for fraud. As Ha’aretz reported today, she is accused of using government money to pay for what they call “personal expenses” in her private home. The country’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, is expected to indict her within the next few days.

Netanyahu once looked like he could survive anything. That’s changed.

Netanyahau’s political fate has long rested in the hands of Mandelblit, who has a mixed reputation in Israel. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, a longtime Netanyahu rival, has publicly criticized the attorney general for failing to indict and prosecute the prime minister more quickly. Barak and other critics point to Mandelblit’s previous job as a cabinet secretary, which involved working closely with Netanyahu. Mandelblit’s ascension was considered a win for Netanyahu when he took the position.

But a high-level police investigator told Noam Sheizaf earlier this year that that slow movement might mean Mandeblit was taking his time to build a stronger case against the prime minister. That doesn’t mean an indictment will come tomorrow. But it makes an indictment seem likelier.

Sima Kadmon, a political columnist in Israel, wrote at the end of last week that “Harow is the game changer because he was so close to the prime minister,” noting that Harow once served as Netanyahu’s foreign relations advisor and held a variety of other senior posts for the last decade.

That means Harrow has had unique access to Netanyahu’s activities for the last several years — and can speak, as few others can, to their legality.

All that said, prosecuting Netanyahu may still be months, or even years, away.

“This feels like we are at the beginning of the end,” said Daniel Levy, the president of the US Middle East Project.

vox

  • Niemals

    “The Word Jew Is NOT In The Bible”
    Hind Abyad reaches new heights in her crusade to eradicate the Jew. (Mia culpa – I assumed she hated only the Zionist Jews…)
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0243c643bc3e71cca5530a70a0454bd98b432ff0c3c2db1f3eac858383de2eec.jpg Hind Abyad – the eternal Jew hater uses the the so called “Biblicism Institute” thesis about “Mistranslation And Bible Manipulation”, to erase the Jewish people.

    Can not understand that she has the stomach to call herself Christian.

    • Hind Abyad

      Zionists, the Eternal humanity Haters

      “Advocate of ‘Death to Arabs’ is EU’s frontman in Israeli PR campaign

      http://mondoweiss.net/2017/08/advocate-frontman-campaign/?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm

      • Rudy1947

        How many dead Europeans by the hand of Jews vs how many dead Europeans by the hand of Muslims?

        • Ilami-Gilaki

          You don’t like Moslems? Don’t let them in! I had enough of this supposed and imaginary between the Moslems and the West. While both of you pretend that you “hate” each other, the non-Moslems (i.e. all non-Sunnis) of Western Asia and Northern Africa are paying the price for this farce.

          • Rudy1947

            Far from a farce and the door has already been left open. Now, can you come up with the figures to answer my question?

          • Ilami-Gilaki

            It is a farce! Moslems are supposed to be your enemies and yet you arm them to attack Druze, Oriental Christians, Yezidis, and Shittes

          • Hannibal

            lol so true…

          • Rudy1947

            Who’s “you”?

          • Ilami-Gilaki

            Acting like you don’t know? Really? “you” refers to the Westerners.

          • Rudy1947

            Why are most of the weapons used of Russian design?

        • Niemals

          It was new, is Hind Abyad claiming that the terror attacks against Europeans are done by Jews?

          • Rudy1947

            No. I’m asking if the troubles in Europe are from Muslims or Jews.

          • Niemals

            Did you get any answer?

          • Hind Abyad
          • vs

            Dump info sharmuta, stop posting RT Ruscism propaganda

          • Hind Abyad

            Soros financing millions of immigrantes

        • Hannibal

          If you want to add ALL history then the hand of zionists are the bloodiest of all. Read up on them financing wars on both sides. Are you blind?

          • vs

            Please stop mental masturbation on Jews, sharmuta

          • Hannibal

            Your mother is the MOAW…. the mother of all whores.

          • vs

            𐤋𐤊 𐤕𐤆𐤃𐤉𐤉𐤍 𐤄𐤎𐤅𐤍𐤀𐤄

          • Omega

            (laughing)

          • vs

            Deleted All comment that are considered rude, insulting, a personal attack, abusive, derogatory or defamatory will be deleted

          • Omega

            Deleted All comment that are considered rude, insulting, a personal attack, abusive, derogatory or defamatory will be deleted

          • vs

            Deleted All comment that are considered rude, insulting, a personal attack, abusive, derogatory or defamatory will be deleted

      • vs

        Sharmuta, please stop posting antisemitic crap mondoweiss

      • Hind Abyad
        • vs

          In his attitudes towards race and religion, Coudenhove-Kalergi continued the work of his father. In his youth, the elder Coudenhove-Kalergi was an antisemite. Please, sharmuta, stop poisoning internet

    • Hind Abyad

      Deleted All comment that are considered rude, insulting, a personal attack, abusive, derogatory or defamatory will be deleted

  • vs
  • vs
    • vs

      opened

  • vs

    On the morning of Thursday, August 10, 33-year-old Iranian journalist Neda Amin landed in Israel, (asked for asylum in country). On August 6, Interior Minister Arye Deri approved her petition.

    Three years ago Neda ran away from Iran, where she faces the death penalty, and was in Turkey. However, Turkey announced that it intends to send Amin home.

    Then the Union of Journalists of Israel asked the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to apply for asylum for Neda. In the petition, it was noted that the journalist was persecuted for her professional activities. Amin wrote several materials for the Times of Israel website in Farsi.

    “This is a journalist whose life is threatened only by the fact that she writes for the Israeli news site. For these humanitarian reasons she was allowed to enter Israel,” was said in the statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

    • vs

      Also may be thanks to Bibi

  • Andre

    Hey @yalibnan, why do you allow irrelevant spam (in this case from @disqus_d4bXMZbF1y:disqus) I notice most vs posts have nothing to do with the posted article. Please clean up.

    • vs

      Another one info fascist. Andre, what do you want i will say on topic? There is a plot of left and left media to throw off Bibi, and “party No Bibi” vs “party Bibi” fighting, but i think Bibi will be stronger and will be O.K. Please, off topic is not crime but extension, i’m helping yalibnan to provide more news. You can simply ignore me if you want but thank you are not ignoring me and was this your comment relevant to topic?

      • Ilami-Gilaki

        Like a news agency within a news agency?

        • vs

          recursion:) extension, wide observing, more info, lateral, deeper and may be attractive for yalibnan. Is this experimental? I don’t know, but think commenting can be creative, not just stupid fighting, trolling, confronting, hating or mental masturbation

          • Hannibal

            Pornographic vs is dirty low life scum.

          • vs

            suck dick of drunken monkey, nazi dirty idiot

          • man-o-war

            Why are the monkeys always drunk? Maybe the sober monkey wants to get some action as well.

          • vs

            Hi man, sorry i’m still using bad words for hateful idiots, not my preferences confronting them, i hope, know better level of commenting is possible, we have diversity of commentators, also smart, good, capable to learn etc. There is also diversity of monkeys. If Kannibal want, he hateful idiot can suck dick of sober monkey, i’m not insisting

    • Hannibal

      vs is a zionazi troll… Too bad yalibnan is not banning his long nose outta here.

      • vs

        too bad some fascist scum like you can open in internet dirty mouth, sharmuta. You are not welcomed in internet, dirty nazi idiot

        • Hannibal

          Which country is fascist douchebag?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT5L4YU_Fl4

          • vs
          • Hannibal

            The truth: Believe in your own lies. Those people you displaced are living proof in all the Arab world. Lebanon alone has half a million Palestinians. Besides, Let’s suppose the land was occupied by Jordan and Egypt, tell me please what are the European Jews doing there? The truth: The world is waking up to zionist lies.

          • vs

            FaLIEstinians are KGB Orabians. No need fight Jewish refugee camp (also for non Jews) Israel, so you will not get consequences. You are example of fighting Israel in internet, KKKannibal

          • Hannibal

            Let me tell you the truth vs. You are an ethno khazar from Poland who has ZERO relationship to real judaism.

          • vs

            Even Karl Marx was not “khazar from Poland” but real Jew, also i am
            𐤀𐤍𐤉 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤃𐤉

          • Hannibal

            Nope you’re not.

          • vs

            lol sure you know better. All my family except wife and so child (i’m not racist Jew) are Jews. Start learn Aramaic and Phoenician better like i’m speaking Hebrew

          • Hind Abyad

            Hanni! No use..he’s irrrational

  • vs
    • vs

      for Andre: Bibi in power in Israel because Hamas

      • Hannibal
        • vs

          𐤋𐤊 𐤕𐤆𐤃𐤉𐤉𐤍 𐤔𐤓𐤌𐤅𐤈𐤄 𐤌𐤋𐤅𐤊𐤋𐤊𐤕
          Sharmuta Kannibal, please stop posting antisemitic crap

        • vs
        • vs

          𐤋𐤊 𐤕𐤆𐤃𐤉𐤉𐤍 𐤔𐤓𐤌𐤅𐤈𐤄 𐤌𐤋𐤅𐤊𐤋𐤊𐤕

          • Hannibal

            One word: UGLY

          • vs

            You are not only hateful ugly, nazi sharmuta, you are also primitive

        • vs

          Sharmuta Kannibal, please stop posting antisemitic crap lol 1:37:13

          • Hannibal

            Correction: antizionist… Semites are the entire Middle East people which zionists are slaughtering which makes Israel the antisemitic. You got all backward vs a7be.

          • vs

            “zionist” is your extension subtitution for Jew, dirty exactly antisemitic moron. Antisemite and Semite are not antonyms, nazi sharmuta

          • Hannibal

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ5Pb9eBmCY
            Watch to the end… It is translated for your understanding. They are on their way.

          • Rudy1947

            How quaint. Why didn’t they do that in 2006?

          • vs

            I hope you will stop your crap, mental masturbation on Jews, dirty idiot. Think better how Lebanon will not be next Syria with help of HA, idiot

          • Ilami-Gilaki

            Does a7ba = 2a7ba? I thought that was an Iraqi term?????

          • vs

            𐤀𐤄𐤁𐤄

          • Hannibal

            yes and no
            2a7ba (vs) enjoys it as compared to a sharmuta who does it for the sake of money.

          • vs

            𐤋𐤊 𐤕𐤆𐤃𐤉𐤉𐤍 𐤔𐤓𐤌𐤅𐤈𐤄
            funny you can not understand, can not say, worse than dog

        • Rudy1947

          Your choice of celebrities is mixed and taken out of context and somehow adjoined, often with no reason to other actions. Propaganda BS. Laughable.

  • vs

    On Thursday, August 10, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Secretary General of the Organization of American States (Luis Almagro) whose purpose is to deepen cooperation in the field of new technologies and cyber defense

  • Hannibal

    An UGLY man inside and out.

    • vs

      Deleted All comment that are considered rude, insulting, a personal attack, abusive, derogatory or defamatory will be deleted

      • Hannibal

        Deleted All comment that are considered rude, insulting, a personal attack, abusive, derogatory or defamatory will be deleted

        • vs

          Deleted All comment that are considered rude, insulting, a personal attack, abusive, derogatory or defamatory will be deleted

          • Hannibal

            same flair? porn addict vs. lol

          • vs

            Deleted All comment that are considered rude, insulting, a personal attack, abusive, derogatory or defamatory will be deleted