Kafe Knesset for Dec. 30

PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS


After months of behind the scenes deliberations, the police sword appears to be getting closer to PM Netanyahu. In the upcoming week, Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit is expected to authorize opening an official investigation into two affairs which involve the premier. According to Channel 2, the alleged suspicion is that Netanyahu received large amounts of funds from two businessmen, one Israeli and one from overseas. So far, the probe has been handled under a unique veil of secrecy: over 50 people have been questioned, yet no details have been leaked to the press, in sharp contrast to the two years of endless leaks former PM Olmert endured before his indictment.

Netanyahu himself published a statement this morning repeating what has become his catch phrase on the various scandals attached to him: “there will be nothing because this is nothing,” insisting the allegations are baseless. His words were echoed by many of his party ministers who accused the media and the left of illegitimate attempts to topple the PM. Culture Minister Miri Regev, currently one of the closest to Bibi, said “the only interest that guides the PM is the national interest and Israel’s security. I back the Prime Minister and am confident he will be leading the country for many more years.”

Meanwhile, while police are about to investigate Netanyahu’s connections to private donors, he is promoting – with his fan Miri Regev – a new proposal that will enable him to raise private funds to sponsor the 70 year independence celebrations, slated to take place in May 2017. Citing budget restraints, Netanyahu decided to outsource the funding of the events, and suggested he would lead the efforts as the main presenter of the fundraising – focusing mainly on the Jewish diaspora. The plan – slated to be approved by the cabinet this Sunday – has raised eyebrows inside the coalition and out of it, since traditionally, these anniversaries have been funded by the state budget. Opposition MK Yoel Hasson sent a letter to Mandelblit yesterday, demanding he put a halt on the “scandalous and unprecedented” initiative. “Looking beyond the principle question if it is appropriate for a strong state like Israel to beg for donations for its independence celebration, this proposal raises serious concerns over conflicts of interest,” Hasson wrote, referring to Netanyahu’s alleged connections to various private businessmen as alleged in recent affairs.

Opposition MK Yoel Hasson sent a letter to Mandelblit yesterday, demanding he put a halt on the “scandalous and unprecedented” initiative. “Looking beyond the principle question if it is appropriate for a strong state like Israel to beg for donations for its independence celebration, this proposal raises serious concerns over conflicts of interest,” Hasson wrote, referring to Netanyahu’s alleged connections to various private businessmen as alleged in recent affairs.


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