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Israeli Politics

Benjamin Netanyahu Trial Rocked by New Testimony


Photos By : Haim Zach / GPO

Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the opposition in the Knesset and Israel’s former prime minister, is currently on trial over corruption charges in a case that has taken so many twists and turns it is worthy of being made into a thriller. The latest turn came from some very damning testimony made by Hadas Klein, an assistant to Israeli businessman Arnon Milchan. She also works for Australian billionaire James Packer and claimed that both men felt pressured into giving the Netanyahus expensive gifts.

The allegations could lead to the end for Netanyahu. Israel has been rocked by several years of political deadlock simply because Benjamin Netanyahu has been on trial. Enough Knesset members won’t serve under a government that he leads because of this that Netanyahu has been unable to form a real government and why Israel is headed to its fifth election in less than 4 years.

Arnon Milchan got his start with a fertilizer business. After moving to live in the U.S. he got involved in the entertainment industry founding the production company Regency Enterprises. He was involved in the making of such Oscar winning movies as The Revenant and L.A. Confidential.

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Milchan is directly involved in the “Case 1000” part of the Netanyahu trial. In this case he is personally accused of providing Netanyahu with the expensive gifts as bribes in exchange for special tax exemption legislation that would benefit Milchan impersonally. Arnon Milchan also held fundraisers for Netanyahu over the years.

The Hadas Klein revelations revolve around the many expensive gifts that Netanyahu received while in office. The prosecution alleges that this was an example of bribe taking, while Netanyahu has maintained that while expensive, the gifts were nothing more than presents shared by close friends. Well, if Hadas Klein is right, that was not the case.

Klein testified that the “gifts” were not given over voluntarily or as a sign of friendship. She said that the Netanyahu’s made it clear – even demanded – that they be given these things, including a very specific brand of cigars and expensive champagne.

Hadas Klein backed up her testimony with receipts for the items given Netanyahu.

The issue of the gifts is related to just one of the charges made against Benjamin Netanyahu. He allegedly received with a total value of NIS 691,776 ($200,000) from Arnon Milchan and James Packer between 2011 and 2016.

The specific charge related to the gifts in question is not all that is at stake for Benjamin Netanyahu here. If the judge in the case – Israel does not have jury trials – believes Klein to be truthful then that means he will consider Netanyahu to be untruthful. In which case, the judge would find that Netanyahu is not a credible witness when it comes to all of the other charges against him.

And this is not all. Hadas Klein also testified that Sara Netanyahu tried to talk her into changing her testimony. This could lead to new charges of obstruction of justice.



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