Kafe Knesset for November 14

Netanyahu and friends: As Bibi’s investigations are expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, we can expect many more leaks of evidence and testimony. Last night, TV channels led their main news broadcasts with some juicy details from File 1000, the investigation into gifts given to the PM from Arnon Milchan. News relates to the testimony of Milchan’s personal assistant, Hadas Klein, who was the liaison between the Netanyahus, Milchan, and Australian billionaire James Packer. It is alleged that Packer and Milchan split the costs of the gifts. Netanyahu is alleged to have demanded cigars and his wife would ask for champagne bottles, in boxes of six or twelve. “Sarah Netanyahu would call, say that the drink was over, meaning the champagne, and ask for more. There was an understanding that Arnon should provide the Netanyahu couple with what they want,” she said, according to the media reports, which defined the testimony as “dramatic.” Netanyahu, in response, is back to “There will be nothing because there is nothing,” and in a statement on his behalf he clarified that he and his wife “acted in accordance with the law. We do not intend at this stage to relate to the details of the investigation that refute the false report.”

Gabbay’s Truth Be Told: Labor party leader Avi Gabbay continued his string of controversial statements. Last night, at a meeting in Be’er Sheva, Gabbay declared that “The Left has forgotten what it is to be Jewish.” Gabbay was referring to a famous and notorious quote whispered by PM Netanyahu to Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri in 1997. That 1997 quote, which at the time sparked a public and political storm, re-emerged following Gabbay’s problematic use of the identical phrase. “People feel that I am closer to Jewish values. We are Jews, and living in a Jewish state … I think one of the problems of the Labor Party, seriously, is that it distanced itself from that.” In 1997, Netanyahu told Rabbi Kadouri, ‘The left has forgotten what it means to be a Jew.’ And do you know what the Left did in response? They forgot what it means to be a Jew and became just liberal,” Gabbai said. Gabbai still enjoys wide support in his party, so the Labor MKs were restrained in their criticism, but he did prompt some strong tweets, such as one from MK Miki Rozental who tweeted “I am a leftist, I am a Jew and I don’t have any memory problems.”

Gabbay also created another interesting political headline at the same Be’er Sheva event. This headline is regarding his main rival – Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid. Asked whether he would be willing to Lapid’s number two if Yesh Atid gets a larger number of seats in the next elections, Gabbay replied, “it is clear that being a Prime Minister is a means to change the country, not a goal. Of course I can be number two. It’s a matter for the public to decide. If you choose me, I will be number one, but in the end I will do everything that is necessary to change the State of Israel.”

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