Likud Activist Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Foot Netanyahu's Legal Bills

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a start of Hanukah ceremony in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a start of Hanukah ceremony in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018.Credit: Ariel Schalit,AP

An activist from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party is attempting to raise crowdsource donations to help pay for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legal defense..

Moshe Pasal has set a goal of raising 1 million shekels ($270,000) by March 5 via the Giveback website platform, and as of Thursday morning 157 people had pledged 54,474 shekels. The money will be collected only if the project reaches its full goal.

Pasal, 29, is a member of the Likud Central Committee and is running for a seat on the party’s Knesset slate in the upcoming primary, which will be held on February 5. He is running for the slot reserved for the “Young Likudniks.”

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“The legal defense expenses against the huge number of cases are unprecedented in their scope,” Pasal wrote on the fundraising webpage.

“Enormous sums are required in order to fund such a legal defense. This is the time to come together and donate, everyone according to their ability, for the success of the prime minister.”

Pasal promised that the money would be kept in escrow and be used only for Netanyahu’s legal defense expenses.

Netanyahu and his wife received $300,000 from businessman Nathan Milikowsky to fund their legal defense in pending criminal investigations without getting permission to receive the sum from the permits committee in the State Comptroller’s Office. Milikowsky is the prime minister’s cousin.

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira sent Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit a letter on January 13 reporting that Netanyahu had received the money without getting permission from the comptroller or informing him about the funds. Shapira asked Mendelblit to examine the implications of the contribution.

The money was transferred to Netanyahu between March 2017 and March 2018, but it was only in April that his lawyers requested permission to accept the funds. 

At that time, Netanyahu’s lawyers asked Mendelblit to allow two American businessmen who are close to Netanyahu to help him pay an estimated millions of shekels in legal fees. The businessmen have been identified as Spencer Partrich and Milikowsky. Both have testified in Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is alleged to have accepted expensive gifts from rich businessmen.

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