PM’s Attorney: Netanyahu ‘An Honest Man,’ But He ‘Likes Money’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Attorney Dr. Yaakov Weinroth. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to be questioned for the fifth time by police in two of the corruption scandals he is alleged to be involved in. According to the Reshet broadcasting network, police are set to further question Netanyahu in Case 1000, in which Netanyahu was accused of accepting extravagant gifts from millionaire Arnon Milchin, and Case 2000, in which the prime minister allegedly leaned on the publishers of Yisrael Hayom to limit distribution of their free newspaper in order to benefit from better coverage in rival newspaper Yediot Acharonot. Netanyahu has repeatedly said about both cases that “there will be nothing, because there is nothing” for investigators to find.

Police said in a statement that they would not comment on who was to be questioned on which case, or when. “We act according to the instructions of the legal authorities and issue updates at the end of an investigation, as required by law.” With that, the report quoted police officials as saying that Netanyahu may be called in for questioning several more times in both cases. Netanyahu may also be called to give testimony in Case 3000, an investigation into a bribery scandal surrounding Israel’s purchase of submarines from Germany. Netanyahu is not considered a suspect in this case.

In an interview Wednesday, longtime Netanyahu attorney and associate Yaakov Weinroth said that Netanyahu “is an honest man. When I once asked him to list his successes and failures, I was left open-mouthed” at the extent of his objectivity in what he had accomplished and failed to accomplish. With that, Weinroth said that Netanyahu “has a tendency to see wealth as an ideology to strive for. I have seen this tendency in general among rich people,” he told interviewer Ilana Dayan on Channel 12.

Commenting on the cases Netanyahu is being questioned in, Weinroth said that the prime minister liked fancy cigars, but was not the type to plot illicit ways to acquire them. “He is the type who doesn’t think about prices,” said Weinroth. “If you ask him how much bread or gum costs, he will miss the price by a wide margin. He spent a lot of money on cigars over the years, and members of his household were always complaining – both over the cost, and the secondhand smoke.”

Weinroth added that there was nothing to the theft of food allegedly engineered by Sarah Netanyahu. According to sources in the Prosecutor’s Office, she is likely to be charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands of shekels from the state. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah have denied the charges, and have hinted that members of the staff – specifically former Chief of Staff of the household Meni Naftali – is responsible for the embezzlement. Naftali has been a leader of the ongoing protests outside the home of State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit demanding more aggressive action in prosecuting the Netanyahus on the various scandals they have been implicated in, including the household budget scandal.

“You don’t get rich stealing food,” Weinroth said about the Sarah Netanyahu case. “What could she do with the meals she is said to have stolen? This should never have even been investigated. In the worst-case scenario, they could have sat down with an accountant and computed the amount of money the prosecutors are alleging is in question, and she could have written a check.”