Phone Call From Trump Interrupts Police Questioning of Netanyahu

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Trump and Netanyahu during a news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., February 15, 2017.
Trump and Netanyahu during a news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., February 15, 2017.Credit: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked on the phone Monday evening with U.S. President Donald Trump. 

The phone call arrived in the middle of a police questioning of Netanyahu at his residence in Jerusalem. Netanyahu left investigators for half an hour to talk to the American president, before returning to continue the questioning. 

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The questioning was expected to focus on allegations that Netanyahu and his wife received gifts from tycoons in return for favors (Case 1000) and his conversations with Yedioth Aharonoth publisher Arnon Mozes about receiving more favorable coverage in return for curbing the expansion of rival paper Israel Hayom (Case 2000).

A police source said that during Monday’s questioning Netanyahu will have to respond to testimony given by his wife Sara, which the source said conflicts with the version of events Netanyahu gave in previous rounds of questioning, particularly with regard to Case 1000.

According to the Prime Minister's Bureau, Trump initiated the phone call and the two mainly discussed the Iranian threat. "The two leaders conversed at length on the dangers due to the nuclear deal with Iran and the Iranian aggression in the region, and on the need to work together to face these dangers," the bureau said. 

Netanyahu and Trump also addressed the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S., where Jewish community centers have been targeted with waves of bomb threats and Jewish cemeteries were hit by vandalism. According to the PM's Bureau, Netanyahu expressed his appreciation to the president's strong statements against anti-Semitism at speech to Congress last week. 

Earlier Monday, Netanyahu said at a memorial commemorating 25 years since the attack on the Israeli embassy in Argentina that the source of 80 percent of Israel's security problems is Iran.

Netanyahu said that the attack against the embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 was perpetrated by Hezbollah under the auspices of Iran.

"It was clear to us who was responsible from the first moment," said the prime minister. "Iran thought of it, planned it and through orders to Hezbollah, carried it out as well."

Netanyahu stressed that Israel will stand with determination against Iranian aggression in the region and will act in order to prevent Iranian fortification n Syria and the transfer of advanced weapons from Iran to Hezbollah.

"Our thick red lines are clear and we won't hesitate to act on them," said Netanyahu.

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