Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traded barbs with former Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Twitter Sunday over the scandal involving wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested on sex trafficking charges Saturday.
Barak, who recently returned to the political arena as head of the newly unveiled Democratic Israel party, was a friend of Epstein's and his name and contact details appeared in a copy of Epstein's "black book" that was published in 2015.
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On Sunday afternoon, Netanyahu tweeted a news report regarding Epstein’s arrest and his ties to Barak with the comment “and the media is silent.”
Barak parried back: "It's painful to find out that people in my acquaintance are involved in criminal activity. First Netanyahu, now Epstein. I hope that in both cases the truth will ultimately emerge. Period."
Netanyahu’s son, Yair, tweeted about Barak’s ties to Epstein numerous times throughout the day Sunday, both in Hebrew and in English –alleging, in one tweet, that Epstein gave his "BFF" Barak $2.5 million.
The younger Netanyahu’s accusatory tweet referred to the fact that Epstein is a former trustee of the Wexner Foundation, which was revealed to have paid Barak $2.3 million in 2004 for “research” after the Israeli leader left political life.
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Barak was just one amidst a long list of powerful friends of Epstein, which included former President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and President Donald Trump. Prof. Alan Dershowitz, a friend and ally of Netanyahu, has also been caught up in the scandal, and like Barak denies any knowledge or participation in Epstein’s alleged crimes.
According to the Associated Press, Epstein was taken into federal custody and is expected to appear Monday in a Manhattan federal court, which said that according to officials, he is accused of paying underage girls for massages and molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York.
Epstein’s case has re-emerged with a challenge against a once-secret plea deal in Florida federal court, amid accusations that his powerful political connections had protected him against full prosecution for the charges based on information that 40 underage girls were brought into Epstein's homes in Florida, New York, New Mexico and the Caribbean for sexual encounters.