Knesset Panel Chair Accuses Israel's Former AG of Whitewashing Bibi-Tours Affair

Yehuda Weinstein violated law by delaying decision on the financing of Netanyahu’s overseas trips, State Control Committee head MK Karin Elharrar says.

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Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara in Davos, Switzerland, in 2014.
Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara in Davos, Switzerland, in 2014.Credit: Kobi Gidon, GPO

The head of the State Control Committee, MK Karin Elharrar (Yeah Atid), sharply criticized previous Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday for his handling of the financing of the overseas travels of the Netanyahu family. Elharrar accused Weinstein of breaking the law that required him to decide within six months if there was suspicion of criminal wrongdoing in that matter. Deputy Knesset Speaker Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) also attacked Weinstein, saying that he “sabotaged the work of the comptroller, in coordination with Netanyahu’s people.”

Following the publication of the state comptroller’s report dealing with the funding of trips by Netanyahu and his wife, Elharrar said that “material was transferred to Weinstein in May 2015. He couldn’t or wouldn’t make a decision, rolling it onto the current attorney general. The law determines that the attorney general must report to the State Control Committee within six months whether he recommends opening a criminal investigation or not.”

Hasson, who initiated the discussion which led to the report on the affair called “Bibi-Tours” when he was the head of the State Control Committee in 2011, sent a strongly worded letter to Weinstein, calling on him to “expose how [he] operated, while in office, in order to drag out the comptroller’s report so that the affair would come under the statute of limitations, while also preventing any private investigation of the matter.”

MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid), Oct. 13, 2015.Credit: Lior Mizrahi

“As someone who was involved in this investigation from its first day while on the State Control Committee, I know how efforts were made behind the scene to whitewash this affair, to drag feet and sabotage the comptroller’s work so that the statute of limitations would kick in,” wrote Hasson.

Haaretz published Tuesday that after the attorney general announced in 2014 that there was no reason to launch an investigation into the funding of Netanyahu’s travels, the comptroller’s office brought up other issues that raised the suspicion that laws were violated. In May and December 2015 the comptroller sent material on this subject to the attorney general.

Elharrar added that “if a decision is made that there are no criminal aspects to this matter, I’ll demand that the portions that were excluded from the final report be made public. This isn’t a personal matter. Everyone is equal before the law, even the prime minister of Israel.”

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