WHAT IT IS
- Israeli Prime Minister (PM), Benjamin Netanyahu, is under investigation by the Israeli national anti fraud unit for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from affluent businessmen.
- Netanyahu’s associates have also been charged with corruption for profiting from foreign businessmen for political favors.
- PM Netanyahu’s wife is also under investigation for the misuse of state funds for catering purposes.
- Netanyahu has claimed this is a “political witch hunt” and has insisted that they were “simply gifts between friends”.
WHY IT MATTERS
Israel is one of the U.S.’s strongest allies in the Middle East, and being embroiled in corruption allegations does not depict a benevolent government. Netanyahu and Trump have similar views on Palestine and Middle East relations, so if anything comes of these allegations, it could create a rift and halt potential progress. The U.S. and the West look towards Israel as a fortifying presence in the Middle East, and this turmoil could allow Hamas and neighboring countries to take advantage.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
- Sara Netanyahu was indicted for fraud on September 8, 2017, intensifying the investigation into the administration.
- There is currently a gag order on Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, Ari Harow, who turned state witness recently. That gag order is supposed to be lifted on September 17, 2017.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
- Here is a timeline/profile by BBC of Benjamin Netanyahu.
- Should this scandal impact Israeli U.S. relations?