Editorial |

Netanyahu Must Be Investigated

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, who promised to investigate public figures promptly, must accelerate his inquiry into the submarine affair and all the other affairs involving Netanyahu.

Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a weekly cabinet meeting on November 13, 2016.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a weekly cabinet meeting on November 13, 2016.Credit: Emil Salman
Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial

Lawyer David Shimron is a relative of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Attorney Isaac Molho is a relative of David Shimron. This is not just genealogical trivia; it constitutes tangible evidence of the rot in Netanyahu’s government, where there is no separation between his family, his party and the state. As in all the best families, blood in the Netanyahu-Shimron-Molho family is thicker than water. Molho participates in classified discussions and serves as the prime minister’s envoy on secret missions, often despite the objections of state institutions. At the same time, he also tends to his own business, because he is not bound by civil service regulations.

For a very low fee, Shimron represents not only his cousin but also Likud. The firm of E. S. Shimron, I. Molho, Persky & Co. acts for the Netanyahus on their personal affairs, which have reached the courts more than once. The Netanyahus also have other lawyers, but the involvement of Shimron and Molho’s firm is consistent and pronounced. When Meni Naftali, former chief caretaker of the prime minister’s official residence, fought a civil lawsuit against the state – most of it deemed justified by a labor court, which also harshly criticized Sara Netanyahu – lawyers from Shimron and Molho’s firm assisted Sara Netanyahu along with the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office.

There is a built-in conflict of interests here, but apparently not an illegal one since former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Comptroller Joseph Shapira both allowed it – whether by acts of commission or omission. It’s even possible that Molho and Shimron could wave some piece of paper bearing formal authorization. But this isn’t enough to whitewash the impropriety, because these familial gatekeepers were involved in the vetting and appointment process of at least one legal gatekeeper: Shapira himself.

This crooked state of affairs would surely have continued had another aspect of Shimron’s professional life not come to light this week: his ties to a German corporation that seeks to sell additional submarines to the Israeli navy. Shimron serves as a lawyer for Miki Ganor, the German shipyard’s Israeli representative, and is even listed as being on the board of directors of one of Ganor’s companies, though Shimron claims he resigned from that job long ago, shortly after the company’s establishment.

So here we have an interesting coincidence: Netanyahu, too, was eager to buy additional submarines from Germany. By chance, and despite Netanyahu’s claim that he never discussed the submarines with Shimron, both of the latter’s clients – the personal one and the business one – have the same opinion. It’s reasonable to question the claim that Netanyahu and Shimron never discussed this issue, and also the circumstances that led the German company to hire Shimron’s services.

This affair is crying out for investigation, like other affairs in which Netanyahu is concerned. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, who promised to investigate public figures promptly, must accelerate his inquiry into the submarine affair and all the other affairs involving Netanyahu. The public needs to know whether Israel’s government is headed by a corrupt politician, or not.

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