WHO DOESN’T like a nice cigar?.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Approximately 3,240 hours. Some 135 days. That’s how much time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have spent smoking mostly Cohiba Siglo V cigars over the last nine years. This is based on a rough estimate, taking into account the details of the police report on its probe into Netanyahu released on Tuesday.
Netanyahu and his family are alleged to have received gifts of a total value of NIS 1 million, which included cigars, champagne and jewelry. According to reports on Israeli TV in January, the gifts included Cohiba Siglo V cigars and Dom Pérignon, although this was disputed by Netanyahu’s lawyer at the time.
The cigar website Steemit.com describes Cohiba as the “flagship brand of Cuban cigars,” and the Siglo V as “the largest of the five sizes.” It is also the most expensive.
Cigar Aficionado reminds readers that it is not only one of the most famous brands, but “Cohiba was created as the personal smoke of Fidel Castro in 1966.” In 2009, the year Netanyahu began his second stint as prime minister, the magazine said it was “the best Cuban cigar we reviewed.” A single one of these cigars in a tube retails for around $34 abroad, but more in Israel. You can enjoy at least 40 minutes of smoking it, likely more.
So what can you get for $284,000? In Jerusalem, not much, because it’s difficult to find the Cohiba Siglo V.
The first cigar shop I stepped into in Jerusalem had no time to talk politics. “I’ve been besieged by press,” said the man behind the counter, before politely asking me to leave. It seems the prime minister’s habits hung in the air already.
In another store, other Cohibas retail from NIS 165 to NIS 250. Montecristo cigars run from NIS 60 to NIS 230. In theory, you could get thousands of such cigars. Even if the prime minister smoked one a day for his 3,242 days in office since March 31, 2009, there might be some left over.
When it comes to champagne, it’s also not that easy to score Dom Pérignon. In fact, I couldn’t find any in downtown Jerusalem, and one wine seller rolled his eyes at what he said was a NIS 1,000 price tag. Why not a bottle of Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial instead, for NIS 200? Of course, one could always go local and get a Pelter sparkling wine for NIS 150.
For NIS 1 million, a person could be kept supplied with a Cohiba a day and a bottle of champagne a week for 10 years. If you smoked that many cigars, though, you’d have spent around 150 days smoking them, assuming each smoking session takes an hour.