A day after an investigative report on Channel 10 television accused Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of ethical violations, Kadima took the lead Thursday
in launching a multi-pronged assault against the premier, filing complaints with
the police, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, State Comptroller Micha
Lindenstrauss and with Acting Civil Service Commissioner Ehud Prauer.
Wednesday evening, Channel 10’s investigative program Hamakor alleged that
Netanyahu utilized a carefully crafted network of wealthy associates to finance
private flights, luxury hotel suites, first-class restaurants, and trips abroad
for him and his family.
The government-tycoons-media triangle
Investigation into corruption at Tax Authority
According to the report, starting in July 2002,
Netanyahu flew between speaking engagements in a personal jet loaned to him for
that purpose – a favor permitted by law until Netanyahu re-entered politics in
The report suggested that there had been ethical flaws in
Netanyahu’s behavior when donors and sponsors agreed to fly his aides and family
on first-class flights, and treated them to luxury hotels, fancy cars, personal
assistants, entertainment, and five-star restaurants.
Drucker said Thursday that he had been working on the probe for two years, and
that his concerns centered around the period 2003-2007. During those years,
Drucker said, his research had uncovered 16 different trips made by Netanyahu in
which the funding sources seemed to cross ethical boundaries.
the prime minister and his wife may legally fly using state funds, the report
argued that Netanyahu’s external relationships – and perks received during those
trips – were ethically questionable.
Seeing a ripe political opportunity,
Kadima sprang into action Thursday morning, pressing for probes against
“The investigative report raises serious suspicions that the
prime minister allegedly received perks at great expense, and that the prime
minister allegedly violated party funding laws,” wrote State Control Committee
Chairman MK Yoel Hasson to Lindenstrauss.
In addition to receiving
travel-related funds, Kadima MK Hasson complained, Netanyahu allegedly violated
campaign funding laws by submitting only partial reports of donations
Hasson said that the report indicated that in some cases, the
donations received exceeded the limits imposed by campaign financing
Lindenstrauss has reportedly initiated a preliminary examination to
determine whether there is a basis for a probe against Netanyahu. If his probe
reveals suspicions of ethical violations alone, then Lindenstrauss will likely
continue with a more in-depth probe.
But if Lindenstrauss concludes that
the evidence points to criminal violations, he is likely to turn the file over
to Weinstein’s office.
A letter sent by Kadima’s legal adviser, Eitan
Haberman, to Weinstein, argued that the report’s contents “necessitate the
opening of an investigation due to the criminal and ethical implications, the
acceptance of personal benefits and conflicts of interest, which create a
suspicion that Netanyahu has been methodically committing crimes over a long
time, with a lot of money, using private and private individuals and
organizations, while hiding information.”
Also on Thursday, MK Shlomo
Molla submitted an official complaint at the Yarkon Subdistrict Police Station
in Tel Aviv against Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.
“The things that were
broadcast are serious and it seems that there may be, among them, violations of
Israeli law – crimes of bribery, fraud, and violation of public trust,” said
“Because this is the prime minister, it is very important that
this cloud be removed by the Israel Police. Thus, I submitted this complaint and
I hope that the Israel Police will look in to the complaint as quickly as
possible in order to draw the necessary conclusions.”
Police in Tel Aviv
confirmed receiving the complaint against Netanyahu, and a police spokesman said
the complaint will be transferred to national police headquarters and examined,
before a decision is made on whether to investigate or not.
Kadima’s call for an investigation “ridiculous.”
“It is ridiculous that
Kadima, which came up with the concept of ‘double funding’ for trips, is
criticizing the prime minister for his behavior,” a statement released by the
“Unlike Kadima, where many members like Olmert, Hanegbi,
Hirchson, Ramon, Lahiani, Gilad and Omri Sharon all have police records, Prime
Minister Netanyahu is completely clean after decades of public
Netanyahu was in Moscow on Thursday, but the Prime Minister’s
Office issued a response, saying the Channel 10 report was full of “recycled
false accusations” that reflect Drucker’s longstanding goal of besmirching the
name of the prime minister and his family.
The statement underlined that
Netanyahu was a private citizen from the time he left office as prime minister
the first time in 1999 until November 2002, and that during that period he could
do as he wished.
The statement said Netanyahu never gave any benefits to
any of his friends when he was a public figure, and that no organization ever
paid for trips for his children when he held public office.