Sources: Netanyahu falsely invoked billionaire's name

Netanyahu misleadingly named British billionaire in order to obtain better press coverage, sources claim.

August 13, 2017 23:48
2 minute read.
Netanyahu enters security cabinet meeting, August 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters a security cabinet meeting, August 2017. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu falsely invoked the name of one of England’s richest men in an effort to obtain better coverage from a hostile newspaper publisher, sources close to the billionaire told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Police sources told Channel 2 that in a conversation Netanyahu taped, he offered to help Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes sell the newspaper in an effort to ease its reports against him. He told Mozes that a potential buyer was Ukrainian-born American-British businessman and philanthropist Sir Leonard “Len” Blavatnik.

The report said police want to question Blavatnik in their investigation of Case 2000, in which Netanyahu is accused of colluding with Mozes against the pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom so he would receive positive coverage from both papers.

Multiple sources close to Blavatnik said on Sunday that the billionaire was not close to Netanyahu, did not have an opinion on Israeli politics, rarely comes to Israel and would not have been interested in purchasing Yediot Aharonot.

A source said that 10 years ago, Blavatnik was approached about purchasing the Maariv newspaper, which was later bought by Jerusalem Post owner Eli Azur, but Blavatnik decided against the purchase.  “He decided not to enter print journalism,” the source said. “He realized that it wasn’t a very good investment.”

Two years ago, Blavatnik purchased Israeli Channel 10, which has a reputation of being anti-Netanyahu. Blavatnik, Aviv Giladi, and the Recanati family each own one-third of the RGE Group, which ultimately bought Channel 10 and Israel’s sports channel.

Blavatnik made his fortune by investing in many companies through his own enterprise, Access Industries. In the Sunday Times Rich List of 2015, Blavatnik was listed as the United Kingdom’s richest person, with a fortune of £16.9 billion. In 2017, Blavatnik, who works out of New York and London, received a knighthood for his philanthropy.

In Israel, Blavatnik's family foundation has contributed $20 million to Tel Aviv University. He also gives scholarships to young Israeli scientists and sponsors the Colel Chabad food bank, which feeds the hungry throughout the country.

He first did business in Israel in 2012 when Access Industries bought Clal Industries, which owns Nesher Cement and ClalTech, a company which invests in Israeli hi-tech. Blavatnik is also a major investor in the Israeli company Gett Taxi.

“Len acts in Israel out of love of Israel and love of business,” a source close to him said. “He is very Zionistic.”

Another source said that while Blavatnik has met Netanyahu and was a proud Jew, he would not try to be friends with the prime minister like other international billionaires.

“That’s just not his style,” the source said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and US President Donald Trump
May 21, 2019
Hamas opposes Trump's Bahrain workshop meant to incentivize Palestinians