When Was PM Netanyahu Informed About the Helicopter Crash in Romania?

Prime Minister's spokesman says Netanyahu learned of the crash after 6 p.m, when his son Yair's birthday party had already begun.

One of the questions arising from reports of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son Yair's birthday party on Monday evening is when was Netanyahu updated about the IAF helicopter crash that had occurred in Romania earlier that afternoon.

A spokesperson for the prime minister claimed that Netanyahu was informed after the party already began. If that is true, then Netanyahu was informed almost 3 hours after radio contact with the helicopter was lost, and quite some time after most of the initially publicized details were already available on the internet and in the international media.

A 19th birthday party was held for Yair Netanyahu at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem on Monday evening. The party guests were invited to arrive at 5:30 p.m. The first reports of the crash began were received in Israel shortly after 4 p.m.

Benjamin Netanyahu, AP, July 25, 2010.

President Shimon Peres, for example, was informed by Brigadier General Hasson Hasson at 4:30 p.m. that contact was lost with an IAF helicopter in Romania. At that point it was only a preliminary report, and there was no confirmation of the crash.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu was informed that the helicopter crashed after 6:00 p.m., after the party had already begun. At 6:30 p.m., President Peres was also informed that the helicopter crashed. According to the PMO, Netanyahu left the party and conducted telephone calls from his home office with senior IDF officials in order to learn what had happened.

After a short while, he returned to the party, but did not inform the partygoers of what had happened. According to the PMO, Netanyahu was asked to use discretion and not to leak information about the crash, due to the fact that the families of the air force servicemen that had been on the helicopter had not yet been informed of the accident.