Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel advances bill enabling Netanyahu to keep donation to fight corruption case

March 6, 2023 at 3:37 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the cabinet meeting [GPO – Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s far-right occupation government approved a bill yesterday which, if it becomes law, will enable Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to keep a large donation that he received from his now-deceased cousin to finance his legal expenses. Despite an objection by the attorney general and watchdogs condemning the move as “political corruption”, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a bill that will allow public officials to accept donations to cover legal or medical bills.

Omer Makayes, director of the Anti-Corruption Movement watchdog, told the Times of Israel yesterday that the bill is “personally tailored” to help Netanyahu and will open doors to further “corruption.” The bill, he added, “has no checks and balances” and “is not positive at all.” Makayes added that his organisation was weighing its options for petitioning the High Court against the bill, as it has yet to pass through the Knesset.

The High Court of Justice ordered Netanyahu last year to repay the $270,000 he received from his late cousin Nathan Milikowsky. Although Netanyahu and Milikowsky were cousins, the court ruled that the prime minister could not receive such a large amount of money from Milikowsky because their relationship was commercial at the time. The donation was deemed to be much more than what an acceptable gift from a family member would be.

The court also ordered Netanyahu to repay the $566,000 loan he received from real estate tycoon Spencer Partrich.

Netanyahu has been facing charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust since 2020. He denies vehemently all of the allegations against him.

READ: Israel Ben-Gvir orders demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem during Ramadan