Kafe Knesset for August 30
Bibi launches Rosh Hashana toast season: It is that time of the year again, as the Jewish New Year approaches. Politicians are starting to make the rounds with traditional toasts and receptions for activists and supporters. The Prime Minister, who will be spending the days before the holiday on an overseas trip to South America and NYC, will be holding his annual pre-Rosh Hashana event this evening. The PM is expected to be greeted by thousands of Likud fans, in what is predicted to be a repeat broadcast of the mass Trump-style support rally Netanyahu held earlier this month. Bibi’s BFF and number one loyalist these days, Coalition chair David Bitan, is once again the producer of the event, but the PM also pitched in to ensure the hall will be packed with supporters. Yesterday he sent out a recorded robocall message, in which he personally invited Likud supporters to the toast, accompanied by a Facebook video post in which Netanyahu promised “a very warm and moving event, which is why I ask you to invite as many friends as possible.” The focus of the event will be Netanyahu’s speech, which he has been working on for the whole week. Sources close to the PM told Kafe Knesset that Netanyahu is planning another combative and harsh display. He will be targeting his favorite enemies – the Left and the press, and promised that it is going to be “quite a show.”
Bibi affairs latest: Bibi continues to brush off all criminal allegations and preach his famous slogan “there will be nothing because there is nothing.” Meanwhile, Police investigators will be on their way to London to collect additional testimony – this time from British-Russian businessman and owner of Israeli Channel 10, Len Blavatnik. Blavatnik is reportedly involved in File 1000, a/k/a “the Gift Affair,” in which Netanyahu is suspected of receiving favors from his tycoon friends, such as Arnon Milchan, who is also a partial owner of Channel 10. Blavatnik will also be investigated for his involvement in File 2000, aka “the Noni Mozes affair.” The police suspect that Netanyahu tried to mediate between Blavatnik and Mozes, the publisher of Yeidoth Aharonoth, in a deal to purchase the paper. Ari Harow, Bibi’s former chief of staff who signed a state witness agreement and is supposed to provide information on both File 1000 and File 2000, is also back in the country after a few weeks abroad on vacation. Harow’s interrogation has resumed during these past few days.
In other Netanyahu scandal related news, Channel 10 reported yesterday that the indictment against Sarah Netanyahu will include accusations of take out orders from expensive chefs worth dozens of thousands of Shekels. The Netanyahus, of course, dismissed the report as “nonsense,” stating that “It is amazing to see how every day the complaints in the media change at a dizzying pace. Yesterday it was the maid and the cup of tea for an elderly person, now it is meals and chefs. This is part of the ongoing attempt to pressure the Attorney General to indict at any price, no matter what, no matter how absurd it is.”
The Attorney General himself, Avichai Mandleblit, assured the public yesterday that the probe is being conducted properly and seriously. Addressing the annual Israeli bar conference yesterday, Mandleblit declared that “political background noise will not influence us” adding that “the only question that will be asked is whether there is a sufficient basis of evidence for filing an indictment. If there is a sufficient basis, an indictment will be filed. If not, it will be shelved.”
Guterres and Greenblatt both visit Nahal Oz: It was a busy day on the Gaza border today, as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and President Trump’s special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, both took a tour of the region. While Guterres crossed the Erez border crossing and met with local UN workers inside the Gaza Strip, Greenblatt was accompanied on a tour along the border by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav “Poli” Mordechai. Both of the dignitaries got the traditional tunnel photo-op and both dedicated some time to hearing the Israeli residents of the area. Guterres stopped by the Nahal Oz kibbutz and was apparently moved by this meeting, as he emotionally described the encounter in his summary speech this afternoon in Tel Aviv’s Beit Hatefuzoth museum. Guterres stated that he “salutes” the residents who “inspired him.” “One would expect these people to have a natural feeling of anger and resentment, but instead they send an amazing message of peace and reconciliation, as they asked me to help the Palestinians in Gaza overcome the humanitarian crisis and even offered to assist themselves. It was an amazing example of solidarity, humanity, and friendship, and I salute them.” Greenblatt has yet to tweet about his own Nahal Oz encounter, but one can expect the same sentiments to echo from Greenblatt as well.