Witness in Netanyahu trial details gifts lavished on then-PM by billionaire friends

Aide to billionaire indicted in Netanyahu ‘gifts’ trial claims Sara Netanyahu urged her to walk back her testimony to police.

By World Israel News Staff

Judges from the Jerusalem District Court heard testimony Tuesday morning from a key witness in one of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s three concurrent corruption trials.

Hadas Klein, aide to billionaire filmmaker Arnon Milchan, took the witness stand in the Case 1000 trial, dubbed the ‘Gifts Affair’, detailing the lavish gifts given by Milchan and others to the Netanyahu family while Benjamin Netanyahu was serving as Prime Minister.

Netanyahu is accused of breach of trust in the case, for allegedly receiving hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of gifts from businessmen including Milchan and James Packer from 2011 to 2016.

The gifts created a conflict of interest, prosecutors claim, in particular given Netanyahu’s role in passing legislation, dubbed ‘Milchan’s Law’ extending tax exemptions for Israelis returning to Israel after living abroad.

Prosecutors have claimed the law’s passage was part of a larger pattern of steps taken by Netanyahu to benefit Milchan, including assisting Milchan receive an extension of his US visa.

In her testimony Tuesday, Klein said Milchan transferred cigars and champagne to Netanyahu through the prime minister’s aides.

Milchan allegedly gave some 267,000 shekels-worth ($75,800) of cigars to the Netanyahus, along with nearly 185,000 shekels-worth ($52,300) of champagne and 10,900 shekels-worth ($3,100) of jewelry.

Packer, an associate of Milchan, also allegedly gave the Netanyahus hundreds of thousands of shekels-worth of cigars and champagne from 2014 to 2016.

Klein said she transferred some of the gifts herself to the Netanyahus, including jewelry she delivered to Sara Netanyahu at the Netanyahu family residence in Caesarea. Both Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu often objected when they did not receive the gifts they had expected, Klein testified.

Other gifts, Klein claimed, were delivered by Milchan’s chauffeur.

Klein also claimed that Sara Netanyahu pressured her to withdraw her testimony to police, and said she received anonymous calls warning her that Milchan is planning to fire her after the trial.