While media attention has been riveted on a donation Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may or may not have received from a French businessman, police are still apparently looking into campaign donations received by Zionist Camp head Yitzchak Herzog. Herzog was again questioned under caution last week in the donation scandal, in which he apparently received illicit funds in his campaign to win the Labor party primary in 2013.
Police had been investigating allegations that Herzog received donations from unnamed but “interested” groups or individuals during the primary campaign that catapulted him to leadership of the party over rival Shelly Yachimovich. He did not report the donations, neither to tax authorities nor to the National Election Committee, as required by law. According to sources quoted in Yisrael Hayom in March 2015, Herzog used the money to run a “dirty tricks” campaign against Yachimovich.
News of the questioning was ignored by the media, even as accusations flew that Netanyahu had received a million euro contribution to his election campaign in 2009 from French businessman Dudu Mimran. Netanyahu on Tuesday denied the accusations, saying that they were part of “the ongoing organized political persecution I am subjected to. They couldn’t beat me at the polls, so now they try to beat me with overblown ‘scandals’ that are constantly pumped up and deflated. They will stop at nothing to defame me.”
According to Mimran and Netanyahu, the French donor gave about 40,000 euros to a non-profit to promote Israel’s image abroad that was headed by Netanyahu. The donation was given in 2001, when Netanyahu was a private citizen.
In response to the report on his questioning, Herzog’s office said that “the questioning represents a last step before the closure of the case, and had been planned long in advance. As far as we are concerned there is no new information. Herzog is sure that the authorities will do their job properly and that the proof that he has done nothing wrong will soon be presented publicly.”