Netanyahu Asked Tycoon for Cigars on Memorial Day, New Materials Show

According to a Channel 13 report, the Prime Minister asked moguls for favors during the national holiday and during conflict with Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem, July 1, 2016.
URIEL SINAI / NYT

New investigative materials suggest that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called businessman Arnon Milchan’s personal aide on the eve of Memorial Day 2016 to ask her for a supply of cigars, Israel's Channel 13 reported Tuesday. 

According to the materials, Netanyahu was at billionaire James Packer’s home in Caesarea and tried to find a job for a friend of his son’s that summer, at a time when Israeli aircraft were striking Gaza.

Netanyahu’s attorney, Amit Haddad, collected the materials for cases 1000, 2000 and 4000 on Tuesday. Netanyahu’s spokesman Ofer Golan said the materials were picked up after Netanyahu reached a temporary arrangement with Haddad for an advance on his legal fees.

Prosecutors said that after the materials were sent to Netanyahu’s legal representative, he told the attorney general that he would coordinate a date for a hearing by next Monday. Payment was not arranged for Netanyahu’s other lawyers, Nevot Tal-Tzur, Tal Shapira and Pini Rubin and they are considering resigning. 

In response to a question from Haaretz, Netanyahu’s spokesman said the prime minister would pay Haddad out of his own pocket.

Netanyahu is suspected of receiving 707 thousand shekels' worth of gifts and favors in Case 1000, which has also been dubbed the "lavish gifts affair.” He could be charged for fraud and breach of trust pending a hearing for "substantially and methodically" accepting these gifts from Milchan and Packer from 2011 to 2016. 

In a draft indictment, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit accused Netanyahu of working to benefit Milchan in a “serious conflict of interest situation between your personal commitment to Milchan and your commitment to the public.”