A Discreet Man for Sensitive Missions: Meet Isaac Molho, Netanyahu's Confidant Detained by Israeli Police

Since 1996, Isaac Molho has represented Netanyahu in numerous rounds of talks with Palestinian, Egyptian and American negotiators while running a commercial law firm, raising concerns about conflict of interest

Judy Maltz
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Isaac Molho
Isaac MolhoCredit: Tess Scheflan
Judy Maltz

Isaac Molho, a Jerusalem attorney, has long been one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most trusted advisers. He was detained on Sunday in the so-called submarine affair, a case that some say is the biggest corruption scandal in Israel. Last week, Molho announced his decision to resign as Netanyahu’s personal diplomatic envoy.

Molho's name was cleared for publication Tuesday. Israeli law prohibits the publication of a suspect’s name for 48 hours after his arrest. 

>> Under interrogation: Netanyahu's right-hand man and left-hand man | Analysis <<

Since Netanyahu was first elected in 1996, Molcho has represented the prime minister in numerous rounds of talks with Palestinian, Egyptian and American negotiators while continuing to run a commercial law firm. His dual roles have been known to raise concerns about conflict of interest.

Tzipi Livni, Isaac Molho, and Saeb Erekat meeting in Jerusalem in August.Credit: GPO

Molho, 72, is married to Netanyahu’s cousin, the former Shlomit Shimron. Her brother David Shimron and Molcho are partners in the Jerusalem law firm that carries both their names.

Shimron was also detained for questioning on Sunday as part of the ongoing police investigation into allegations of bribery in a more-than-billion-dollar submarine deal between Israel and Germany – also known as “Case 3000” and the “submarine affair.”

Molho’s tendency to be discreet and avoid the press is said to be one of the qualities the prime minister appreciates most in him. He has never sought political offices and serves as an adviser to the prime minister on a purely voluntary basis.

Molho’s grandfather was one of the builders of Rechavia, an upscale Jerusalem neighborhood. His father was a founder of Israel Discount Bank, the country’s third largest bank. 

Among other volunteer positions he holds, Molcho serves as Austria’s honorary consul in Israel, chairman of the Israel Museum and board member at the Jewish People Policy Institute. He has known Netanyahu since he was a teenager.

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