The Israeli newspaper Haaretz is reporting that Sarah Netanyahu, wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will be indicted in the coming weeks for allegedly receiving items worth 400,000 shekels ($111,851).
The charges are the result of a probe into the rather luxurious indulgences the prime minister may be allowing his wife on the public dime. She is suspected of ordering chef’s meals at the prime minister’s official residence, which is against regulations, and hiding the fact she did so.
In turn, the Netanyahus have taken to accusing the former master caretaker of the residence, Meni Naftali, of purposefully and dishonestly inflating the operation’s expenses. Naftali is currently leading protests against the prime minister.
At a rally, Benjamin Netanyahu accused Naftali of stealing food from the residence, but a senior political official quelled that sentiment by saying to Haaretz: “This phenomenon began before Naftali came to work at the residence and continued after he was fired.
Still, Netanyahu has done everything he can to publicly delegitimize the probe, saying sarcastically to supporters: “They’re dealing with the most important things in the world, the procedure for replacing a light bulb, trays of food, the cup of tea that was served to her father, a righteous man, on his deathbed.”
Former Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein alienated himself from the Netanyahus when he gave his successor, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, the go ahead to investigate Sara Netanyahu with caution, putting the possibility of criminal charges on the table. Weinstein and the Netanyahus haven’t spoken since, and more indictments for corruption are expected to come.
Police told Haaretz other cases against Netanyahu that are expected to be brought up this year include Case 1000, in which the prime minister is suspected of illicitly receiving gifts from wealthy patrons, and Case 2000, in which the suspicion is that Netanyahu bribed a newspaper in return for favorable coverage.
However, the senior law enforcement official said the date the recommendations would be made public could change because “there are developments all the time that can’t be predicted. This is a dynamic investigation.”
One massive development in the case in recent weeks is the successful signing of a state’s witness agreement by Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, Ari Harow, whose testimony is believed to be key to the entire case.
“This is very significant and essential testimony for the case,” a senior official familiar with the investigation said recently of the information Harow had provided.
A third incident, case 3000, has already led to the arrest of another former chief of staff, David Sharan, for alleged corruption in the purchase of submarine equipment from Germany. Police say this case has, by far, the most moving parts and will not be settled this year.
Attorney Eitan Maoz, who represents Sharan, said that he has a rich record of public service and that the subject on which he was questioned is old.
“I do not understand why they keep him detained,” Maoz added, “if he wanted to disrupt the investigation he could [have] done that a long time ago.”
Thus, Netanyahu is building up his legal team for a long battle. One veteran criminal attorney in Israel has reportedly already been contacted.
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