(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
MK Carmel Shama-Hachohen (Likud) requested on Thursday for the Knesset's discussion of the Ofer Brother Group's trade with Iran be moved to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
"In light of the sensitive aspects of this issue, it is necessary to hold the discussion in a closed forum in order to allow for parliamentary supervision and a clarification of the facts," Shama-Hacohen said.
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The matter had previously been discussed on Tuesday in a meeting of the Economics Committee, which Shama-Hacohen chairs, that was abruptly interrupted after he received a mysterious note. The Likud MK has refused to divulge the note's contents.
“There are no new details since I got the note,” Shama-Hacohen said, reiterating that the note’s contents were the main motivation for halting the discussion.
The MK added that another consideration in the abrupt interruption of Tuesday’s meeting was the lack of representation by the Ofer Brothers Group.
“I knew the Ofer Brothers themselves wouldn’t attend the meeting, but I thought they’d send a lawyer or their director-general,” Shama-Hacohen explained. “There wasn’t anyone to ask questions about the core of the discussion.”
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Shama-Hacohen said it was unclear if the committee would hold another meeting on the matter. “It’s important to investigate the facts, ask questions, and clarify things on the parliamentary level. However, we do not want to stand in the way of other processes,” he added, referring to rumors that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein plans to investigate the Ofer Brothers’ dealings with Iran.
On Tuesday night, a note was posted on Shama-Hacohen’s Facebook page
that said “Carmel, The discussion is unnecessary at the moment. There
are new details that change the whole picture.”
However, the MK issued a denial shortly after, writing on Facebook that
“the note does not have any resemblance to the original note.”
Shama-Hacohen added that “the note is far less interesting than it seems.”Tuesday's Knesset Economics
Committee meeting was supposed to deal with the illegal sale of an oil tanker jointly owned
by the Ofer Brothers Group and Singapore-based Tanker Pacific to the Islamic
Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
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