Netanyahu expected to be questioned for a third time on corruption allegations
The Times reports that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be questioned by police for a third time as part of a criminal investigation over allegations of illicit gifts and arrangements with businessmen. The article outlines what are thought to be the two main cases against Netanyahu. The first is over an apparent quid pro quo deal with the publisher of Yediot Ahronot in which Netanyahu allegedly offered to back legislation limiting the sales of a rival, in return for more favourable coverage. The second is supposed to be in relation to lavish gifts received from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, on whose behalf Netanyahu is said to have requested a lengthy visa from US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Evening Standard reports that Foreign Minister Boris Johnson met newly-appointed senior advisor to Donald Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The article says that they had “positive talks” about Russia, Syria and Israel, and describes Kushner as “reportedly an impassioned champion of the country [Israel]”.
The Guardian, Independent and the online edition of the Financial Times cover comments made by senior Palestinian leader Mohammad Shtayyeh, who said that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as Trump pledged during his election campaign, could lead to the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) revoking its recognition of Israel.
In the Guardian online, Nur Arafah, a Palestinian who grew up in east Jerusalem, writes that in considering relocating the embassy, “Trump must ask himself whether he really wants to terminally damage any prospect of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and prevent an entire people from enjoying their freedoms and rights”.
The Guardian online covers Boris Johnson’s response to questions in the House of Commons about why Israel’s Ambassador had not been disciplined over comments made by an embassy employee caught on camera discussing “taking down” MPs considered hostile towards Israel. Johnson said that the affair is “considered closed” after Israel’s Ambassador to the UK had issued an apology.
The Times reports that Iranians chanted pro-reformist slogans at the funeral of former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died earlier this week aged 82. Rafsanjani was a founder of Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, but later became a figurehead for the more reformist wing of Iranian politics. The article also notes that he “oversaw several significant developments in Iran’s nuclear programme”.
In the Israeli media, the top story in Yediot Ahronot and Haaretz is further details which Channel Two says it has obtained regarding conversations between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Yediot Ahronot publisher Noni Mozes. Apparently, Mozes told Netanyahu: “If you and I agree on the bill, I’ll do everything I can so that you’ll be here as long as you like. I’m looking you in the eye and saying this in the clearest way possible.” The story is also a prominent item in Israel Hayom, while Maariv says that Netanyahu and Mozes are expected to be questioned again by police.
Yediot Ahronot’s lead columnist Nahum Barnea criticises Netanyahu’s relationship with Israel Hayom and its owner Sheldon Adelson, considered to be staunchly supportive of the Prime Minister. Barnea says: “We have heard a lot in the past several days about the sums of money that were spent on the secret supply line of gifts from Arnon Milchan and others for Netanyahu and his family… All of those sums are miniscule relative to the forbidden gift that Netanyahu has received from the gambling tycoon, Sheldon Adelson.” Adelson has reportedly lost hundreds of millions on the newspaper for several years.
The top story in Israel Hayom, which is also covered by Yediot Ahronot and Haaretz, is a bomb which exploded yesterday in the car of singer Margalit Tzanani. Nobody was injured in the explosion just outside Tel Aviv. Reports say that the incident appears to have links to underground mobs. Tzanani was convicted in 2011 of using gangs to extort and threaten her manager.