Netanyahus Asked for Pricey Gift; Milchan: It Made Me 'Sick'

Information obtained by Haaretz alleges that the prime minister intervened after his wife allegedly asked for expensive jewelry; Netanyahu to be questioned again.

Gidi Weitz
Gidi Weitz
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
The Netanyahus, their son and actress Kate Hudson at the home of Arnon Milchan in 2014.
The Netanyahus, their son and actress Kate Hudson at the home of Arnon Milchan in 2014.Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO
Gidi Weitz
Gidi Weitz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be questioned by police for the fourth time regarding two pending investigations.

>> Get all updates on Netanyahu's investigation: Download our App, sign up to Breaking News Alerts, and Subscribe >>

One case involves the suspicion that he accepted benefits from rich businessmen, and the other is centered around his suspected attempt to arrange positive coverage by the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth in exchange for a legislative amendment that would improve the news group’s financial situation at the expense of a pro-Netanyahu competitor.

>> Netanyahu's alleged secret negotiations with Adelson’s media rival explained <<

The probe into favors allegedly received by Netanyahu, which the police have dubbed “Case 1000,” centers on billionaire Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and one of the owners of Israel's Channel 10. Milchan testified that the Netanyahus would ask him to buy them cigars and pink champagne costing hundreds of thousands of shekels. Haaretz has learned that the police are now investigating other items the Netanyahus allegedly received from the businessman.

According to information obtained by Haaretz, Milchan gave Sara Netanyahu jewelry worth about 10,000 shekels ($2,700) as a birthday gift last year after she had requested the item. At first the businessman hesitated because of the object's high cost and the impression that could be created by buying it for the prime minister’s wife.

At this stage, Benjamin Netanyahu came into the picture: He reassured Milchan, saying he had looked into the matter and found no ethical problem with purchasing the jewelry for his wife. “In general, Milchan was told that there was no problem receiving gifts from him because the couple were armed with a legal opinion [on the matter],” an associate of Milchan’s told Haaretz.

>> Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, the cigars and frequent funding of Netanyahu's lifestyle <<

The Netanyahus have meanwhile denied Milchan’s description of the incident and claim it was a routine birthday present between old friends. A source on behalf of the prime minister stated in response that “all the actions were done in meticulous observance of the law. Your incessant claims lack any factual or legal basis and are designed to create wrongful pressure on law enforcement authorities.”

According to a source close to Milchan, he told police that the demand to buy items for the Netanyahus made him “feel sick” on at least one occasion.

Last month, Chanel 2's Amnon Abramovich reported that Sara Netanyahu demanded and received a bracelet and necklace from Milchan worth over $8,600 in 2004. In that instance, too, the gift was allegedly given after the prime minister intervened. The statute of limitations on the 2004 incident has expired, but not on the new allegations.

The attorney general's decision on whether to indict Netanyahu is not expected before September. The two investigations into the prime minister are expected to wrap up in the coming months, after a number of judicial inquiries abroad will be completed.

The 1000 case is based on testimony by Milchan and his employees in Israel, who described a pattern of the Netanyahus' allegedly systematic demands of premium goods that was not typical of innocent mutual relations between friends. According to evidence collected in the case, the code words "pinks" and "leaves" were used by the Netanyahus as a signal to replenish their supply of pink champagne and fancy cigars.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


בנימין נתניהו השקת ספר

Netanyahu’s Israel Is About to Slam the Door on the Diaspora

עדי שטרן

Head of Israel’s Top Art Academy Leads a Quiet Revolution

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

Skyscrapers in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv.

Israel May Have Caught the Worst American Disease, New Research Shows

ג'אמיל דקוור

Why the Head of ACLU’s Human Rights Program Has Regrets About Emigrating From Israel


Netanyahu’s Election Win Dealt a Grievous Blow to Judaism