Hadas Klein, personal assistant to Arnon Milchan, testified on Monday that former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested and received 3,000 shekels (about $900) in cash from tycoon Arnon Milchan, and that she bought his wife Sara a gift for 15,000 shekels with Milchan’s funds, also in cash. These details do not appear in the indictment, and it is the first time a claim has been presented that Netanyahu received cash from Milchan.
(April 6, 2016)
In a far-reaching interview aired Monday with Israel’s Channel 2 TV’s flagship investigative program „Uvda,“ Milchan detailed a series of clandestine affairs in which he was involved and particularly how he helped purchase technologies Israel allegedly needed to operate nuclear bombs.
„I did it for my country and I’m proud of it,“ said Milchan, who ran a successful fertilizer company in Israel before making it big in Hollywood.
In a 2013 interview with the Hebrew media, Milchan acknowledged that he had worked for the Israel Bureau of Scientific Relations, which worked to secure scientific and technical know-how for secret defense programs.
That interview led US authorities to grant him merely a one-year visa extension instead of the 10-year visas he had previously received. Milchan sought Netanyahu’s help in obtaining a new 10-year visa, and the former prime minister arranged for the Hollywood mogul to speak directly to then-US secretary of state John Kerry on the issue.
Klein was the personal assistant to billionaires Arnon Milchan and James Packer. She is testifying at the trial in Case 1000 – the lavish gifts affair – in which Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust during the time he served as prime minister. In her testimony, Klein told how Milchan and Packer sent expensive cigars and champagne to Netanyahu and his wife Sara for years through her, at the Netanyahus’ request. Her cross-examination by Amit Hadas, Netanyahu’s lawyer, will continue on September 6, after the end of the courts summer recess.
It seems that there is no better, no more characteristic demonstration of the huge gap between the aggressively marketed image and what really occupied Netanyahu in his years at the helm. He is obviously not the only politician who likes the proximity of tycoons. Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert also liked being close to rich people and the pampering they could provide.
Hadas Klein told Jerusalem District Court that Packer „wanted to donate $3 million to the Peres Center for Peace and had promised Shimon Peres he would do it.” The center was founded by the former president and prime minister in 1996, in order to further peace and cooperation between Arabs and Jews and Israelis and Palestinians.
Klein is testifying in Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is accused of improperly receiving expensive gifts in exchange for favors. Both Packer and Milchan are at the center of the affair.
„One Friday, I received a call from Arnon and he said to me, ‚Speak to Yossi Cohen and tell him that Sara likes him,'“ Klein continued. „‚Tell Yossi what Sara says about him.‘ Arnon told him that he spoke with the Netanyahus. And then Arnon met with [then-Mossad chief] Tamir Pardo on Friday afternoon. He told Pardo that he spoke to the Netanyahus and they both approved this appointment, and Tamir told Milchan: ‘You did something bad for the State of Israel.’”
For some unclear reason, former attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit decided to indict Netanyahu in this case only for fraud and breach of trust, and not bribery, and the gifts for Sara Netanyahu were not included in the indictment, because the Prime Minister’s wife is not a civil servant, even though – according to Klein – Bibi was perfectly aware of their existence, as he had told her that all of Sarah requests should be complied with.
Israel-American billionaire Arnon Milchan lambasted Israeli right-wing attacks on his aide Hadas Klein, a key witness in the trial of Benjamin Netanyahu who filed a police complaint on Thursday against a journalist for harassment.
Klein has this week been giving testimony in Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly accepting luxury gifts from Milchan and Packer worth NIS 691,776 ($200,000).