Kafe Knesset for August 3
Bibi Affairs Latest: The news cycle continues to be dominated by Netanyahu’s criminal entanglements with various reports emerging over the past 24 hours. Last night the main TV news shows opened with a reports about Ari Harow becoming a state’s witness. Harow is Bibi’s former chief of staff. According to these reports, Harow will provide details on issues that have to do with all of the ongoing investigations. These include: File 1000, concerning Netanyahu’s relationship with Los Angeles-based producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer; File 2000, which deals with contacts between the PM and Arnon (Noni) Mozes, the owner and publisher of Yeidoth Aharonoth; and last, but not least, File 3000, the submarine affair. In a first official confirmation of the state witness negotiations with Harow, the Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, told reporters this morning that “we are making progress and working in cooperation with the police. Let us work quietly and reach the truth.”
Throughout the whole week several Likud loyalists have been defending their party leader in the press, but other senior politicians prefer to keep their distance from the mess. Most of Bibi’s coalition partners have no interest in a political shakeup at this point, so they are conveying calming messages of stability. Jewish Home’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said yesterday that Netanyahu does not have to resign if an indictment is filed against him and that only far-reaching evidence would justify the dismantling of the government. “Let us wait and see what will happen,” Shaked said in an interview to Ynet. “We have to wait and see what is in the indictment. Going to elections is not a trivial matter.” UTJ MK Moshe Gafni also gave Bibi a pat on the back today:. In a joint event with Netanyahu in the Haredi city of Beitar Elit, Gafni praised the current coalition’s activity, stating that “some people don’t like our work and can’t stop attempting to bring you down. It is so obvious that they are looking for anything to topple you, because they know they can’t beat you in elections.”
At the same time, Netanyahu received some American legal support this week, as Alan Dershowitz gave a series of interviews in which he defended the PM and accused the opposition of “using the judicial system as a political tool.” In a front page interview in Adelson’s Israel Hayom, Dershowitz addressed the similarities between the legal affairs of the Netanyahu family and the Trump family. “It is a similar tactic to spread endless accusations and hope that one of them could eventually stick. Meanwhile the news diverts the leader’s attention from what he is trying to accomplish.” Dershowitz staunchly brushed off any criminal aspects of both Trump and Bibi, stating: “I have been teaching criminal law for 50 years, and I am very knowledgeable about all the laws, and I can not find any proof of any accusation against Trump that would be a federal offense.” Dershowitz explained that he similarly does not find any criminal signs in Bibi’s behavior: “Even if his talks with Yedioth Ahranoth happened, what is criminal about it? Every politician in history tried to reach understandings with the media … and in any case it did not happen. It was just talk. If we would bring politicians to justice based only on what they say, all the politicians in the world today would be under investigation … so I do not think there was even a crime committed by the prime minister or the American president.” After Israel Hayom, owned by his close friend and client Adelson, Dershowitz continued to talk with Channel 1, Army Radio, and Channel 20, and according to “The Markers” media correspondent, Nati Tucker, the interviews were organized by no other than Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu’s private media advisor.
Yair vs. Ariel, Round Two: Yair Netanyahu has been in deep doo-doo since Saturday night and Ariel Olmert, son of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, decided to pile on yesterday. After Yair allegedly didn’t scoop the family dog Kaiya’s poop, an eyewitness wrote a Facebook post. Then left-wing think tank Molad’s Facebook page posted criticism of the prime minister’s son, and Netanyahu wrote a very harshly worded Facebook post questioning why other prime ministers’ sons did not face the same scrutiny. Ariel Olmert, who has generally stayed out of the limelight, had an answer for Yair, who claimed Olmert had an “interesting relationship with a Palestinian that endangers national security.”
“Hey Yair Netanyahu,” Olmert wrote. “I’m the homosexual son, nu, you know, the one who lives with a Palestinian and ran away with him to France…Except there are some problems with this story. The first is that it is all made up. I like women and share my life with a female partner and my daughter. The bigger problem is the racism and homophobia that are dripping from this story.” Olmert went on to posit that the reason he was able to avoid attention is because he never lived in the Prime Minister’s Residence and he made his own living, instead of living off of his father’s position. Olmert asserts that he did not have his own security detail and that he does not have dinner with visiting presidents – like Yair did with Trump – or billionaires – like Yair’s alleged buddy James Packer. “I also try, on principle, to pick up my dog’s doody,” Olmert quipped.
So far, Yair has ignored Ariel, and he has continued posting against Molad on his Facebook page, under the name Yair Hun.