Kafe Knesset for April 21
Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day
All in the family: Two TV channels possibly ruined Netanyahu’s weekend last night, by reporting on the deep involvement of his family in ongoing police probes and legal decisions. Channel 10 reported that the State Attorney’s Office is expected to recommend an indictment against Sara Netanyahu in the PM’s residence affairs, in which the PM’s wife allegedly ordered food for private events and paid for her father’s caregiver from the official residence expenses. Meanwhile, Channel 1 reported that the premier’s cousin, Nathan Milikovsky, recently testified to the police in two of the ongoing investigations, File 1000 in which Netanyahu is suspected of allegedly receiving illegal gifts and in File 3000 – a/k/a the “submarine affair” which involves another Bibi cousin – David Shimron.
Milikovsky is Netanyahu’s cousin from his father’s side, and according to recent reports in Israeli media, Netanyahu himself testified that Mililkovsky used to fund some of Bibi’s cigar-smoking habits. Milikovsky is also the former director of GrafTech International, a major business partner of Thyssenkrupp, the German conglomerate which is the subject of the alleged corruption probe in the “submarine affair.” According to the report, Milikovsky gave open testimony and was not questioned under warning.
The Netanyahu family spokesperson, Nir Heffetz, released two statements adamantly rejecting both reports: “It is a disgrace to consider prosecuting the Prime Minister’s wife for these false claims and, first and foremost, the shameful accusations of her “sin” – taking care of her dying father in his last days. Apparently there is no limit to the hatred towards Netanyahu.” Milikovsky, according to another statement, has been helping Netanyahu for decades, “and this is allowed, well known, and legal.” As for the submarine affair, attempts to tie the prime minister to it are “absurd and pathetic.” Heffetz ended with the Bibi refrain: “There was nothing and there will be nothing.”
Margalit wants Israel to give in to Palestinian hunger strike?: Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan got into a twitter fight today with Erdan accusing Margalit of encouraging terrorists. Margalit, who announced his candidacy for the Labor leadership earlier this week by launching a widely complimented campaign under the slogan “the Leftists are coming back”, went to visit Fatah’s Jibril Rajoub in Ramallah yesterday. During the meeting, Margalit accused Netanyahu and Erdan of being “irresponsible pyromaniacs” in their handling of the ongoing Palestinian prisoner hunger strike, stating they are “setting the street on fire over something stupid like installing a public phone for prisoners.” Erdan responded in a series of tweets, essentially rejecting Margalit’s claim that the prisoners are striking because of a phone: “They have a long list of demands, and apparently, unlike Margalit, I will not conduct a dialogue with terrorists. Unfortunately, even meeting with Rajoub helps the boycott efforts against Israel. After all, this is a terror supporter of who heads the efforts to boycott us at FIFA and other institutions. I also know of a sane Israeli left, who are not like Margalit, who is harming the security interests of the State of Israel.” Then, Margalit’s political rivals jumped in as well: Isaac Herzog, who Margalit is seeking to replace, demanded that he clarify his remarks, stating they are contrary to all the Zionist left- center values and are damaging our ability to establish a large bloc that can replace the government. I strongly condemn any support for the striking prisoners’ struggle, most of them have Israeli blood on their hands”. Omer Bar-Lev, whom is also running for Labor leadership, tweeted: “after the coalition, Marwan Barghouti has now succeeded to drag Erel Margalit into his internal Palestinian campaign, and voluntarily”
Oh, snap! Likud edition: Likud infighting got nasty Thursday night with backbenchers slamming each other on Twitter while reporters got out their popcorn and watched the show. It all started with a tweet from the Likud’s biggest troublemaker, MK Oren Hazan, who wrote: “Miki Machlouf [Zohar], my friend, has the time not come for you to reconsider resigning from the Knesset?” A little background – Zohar considered resigning from the Knesset last year, and Netanyahu talked him out of it. Also, this week, Zohar came under fire for shouting at Leah Goldin, the mother of Hadar Goldin, a soldier who is presumed dead and whose body is being held by Hamas in Gaza, after she criticized Netanyahu’s handling of the matter. Zohar did not let Hazan’s comment slide, tweeting back: “Said the pimp, who a court determined did drugs and ran a casino. Bro, what about some self-awareness?” Hazan, in case you need a reminder, managed a casino in Bulgaria, and allegedly helped procure drugs and prostitutes for its patrons. MK Yehudah Glick, ever the peacemaker, interjected: “Friends, what has come over you? Calm down! Miki made a mistake and apologized, and that is the right thing to do. We should all improve the public discourse so that it is respectable. This discourse harms us all more than anything else.”
Regev under attack: Speaking of harmful discourse, Culture Minister Miri Regev and her family were harassed Thursday while hanging out on Tel Aviv’s lively Dizengoff Street. The culprit was Barak Cohen, an extreme left-wing activist who specializes in harassing the families of people he disagrees with, with an emphasis on intimidating their children. For example, his “Going to the Bankers” project included standing outside the high school graduation of the Bank Leumi CEO’s daughter’s high school graduation with a megaphone and disrupting the event. On Thursday, the Regevs were walking down the street and the Culture Minister shook hands with passers-by, as Cohen called her garbage and a racist, and said that he “shits on you and your whole family.” Regev’s teenage daughter sounded like she was going to cry, and said “Daddy, tell him [to go away],” and then to Cohen, “I’m going to sue you!” After the family entered a restaurant that specializes in shrimp and shellfish, Cohen – who is not religious – continued his tirade, saying “What kind of Jew are you? They serve vermin here!” He later posted a video of the incident on Facebook. Regev shrugged it off, writing on social media that she thanks the public for its concern. “We were indeed attacked, I and my family…It’s an unpleasant event, especially because it happened with my daughter. This is the kind of price that a public figure and her children should not have to pay in our society. I am sure the police will deal with this aggression as necessary. Don’t worry, I’m not bothered by this anarchist and his friends. We will continue to do good for the people of Israel.”