After more than six months of investigation, officers from Lahav 433 (the the National Crime Unit of the Israeli Police) are set to meet the Prime Minister again today. Officers will question him for the fifth time since the File 1000 and File 2000 investigations began last year. The investigation is expected to focus on the gifts affair, and Netanyahu’s relationship with his billionaire friends, most notably Arnon Milchan, and the “Noni Mozes tapes,” a/k/a Netanyahu’s contacts with the publisher of Yediot Aharanot before the last elections. However, according to some reports, Netanyahu will also be questioned on the Submarine Affair, File 3000, even though at the moment he is not a suspect, while Bibi’s two personal lawyers, Yitzhak Molcho and David Shimron – arrived at the police today for their fifth consecutive day of investigations on the same affair.
This is the first time that the investigators will confront Netanyahu with the various testimony and evidence they gathered in the past few months, including the information they collected from the PM’s former chief of staff Ari Harrow, who signed a state witness agreement last August, and as such – could bear some potential future political consequences. During the long period of hiatus, Netanyahu could only guess how serious and big the files are, but the investigation could help him estimate how much trouble he may be facing in the near future, as rumor has it that the police are set to conclude the investigation in the coming weeks. So far, Netanyahu is under no clear political danger, but if he senses that the police recommendations could harm him politically, he himself might be prompted to make a surprise move like early elections.
Meanwhile, an interesting character testimony about the PM has emerged. “Netanyahu has a weakness for billionaires”, his lawyer, Yaakov Weinroth, said in an interview to veteran journalist Ilana Dayan, which is set to be broadcast this evening. “Netanyahu is an honest man – if you ask him for a resume of successes against his failures, your jaw will drop open, but he admires money as a world view,” he said. “If you ask him how much gum or bread costs, he is likely to miss the figure by a high range. He doesn’t live the world of prices. He spent huge amounts of money on cigars over the years – and that is why his family was angry about it – because of the smoking itself, and because of the prices.”
The Weinstein effect in Israel: After the rape, assault and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein came to light, the Israeli media’s day of reckoning came, too. The main culprit here is Alex Gilady, president of Keshet, the production company behind some of Channel 2’s biggest hits, which launched its own channel last week. On Thursday, veteran journalist Oshrat Cotler made comments about an “indecent proposal” from Gilady, and more and more women began telling their stories, as well. Journalist Neri Livne told a story of a very Weinstein-esque move by Gilady, in which she went to his home to have a business discussion, and Gilady changed into a robe, exposed himself, and told Livne to talk to his genitalia. Gilady is in his 70s and at this point held a mostly ceremonial role at Keshset. Yesterday, he said he would step down temporarily to work on clearing his name. Meanwhile, Gilady is a member of the International Olympics Committee – the first Israeli ever to hold the position – and is on the planning board for the 2024 Olympics, but the IOC hasn’t made a comment on the allegations against him. Other major media figures have been accused of sexual misconduct, including radio host Gabi Gazit, who had a show on Channel 2 years ago; Channel 2 News diplomatic reporter Dana Weiss gave an interview this morning describing how he forcibly kissed her, and other women came forward with similar stories. Legendary anchorman Chaim Yavin, 85, Channel 1’s evening news for 40 years, has also faced allegations this week, though not for the first time.