An Israeli model and actress has admitted to a six-year romantic relationship with Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif and appealed to former British prime minister Tony Blair to intervene to save his life. The son of the late Libyan dictator currently faces the death penalty in his native Libya, where he is about to go on trial for his alleged part in the killing of protesters during last year’s civil war.
Orly Weinerman, 41 — who played a dumb blonde in the 1990s hit Israeli TV show “Shemesh,” and was a Hebrew gossip column regular — had previously denied her romance with Gaddafi. But she acknowledged on Sunday that they were in a “discreet” relationship that began in London in 2005, when they were introduced by mutual friends, and that ended only when the civil war broke out in 2011. According to a Daily Mail report, she said that although there was tension in the relationship because of their conflicting backgrounds, there was even talk of marriage before the end.
Weinerman said Saif was a civilized, serious and honorable man who was now being unjustly treated.
She said her status as a Jew complicated matters for Gaddafi, 40, who apparently feared the consequences of their relationship becoming public in Libya. She implied that she considered converting to Islam, noting that her parents were against such a move. When Der Spiegel reported in 2006 that they were dating, the relationship prompted criticism of her in the Israeli media, even though she denied the story.
Weinerman told the Daily Mail that “the fact that Saif was prepared to involve himself in a loving relationship with a Jew is a measure of how open and civilized he is. He judged people for what they are — not what people perceive them to be. Saif never made an issue of my religion, or the country I came from.”
She indicated that theirs was an intermittent but serious connection, maintained while he studied for a PhD at the London School of Economics and she pursued her acting and modeling career in Israel. She said she did not meet any of Saif’s high-level contacts, who she said included Blair.
Weinerman urged Blair to use his influence on Gaddafi’s behalf. Saif’s contacts with Blair were confirmed when a letter the former prime minister had written to him in 2007, advising him on his PhD, was found during the Libyan uprising.
The International Criminal Court sought but failed to extract Gaddafi to stand trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity, because human rights groups feared he would not receive a fair trial in his home country, the Mail reported. “The ICC has let him down and so has the international community,” she said, urging Blair to compel Gaddafi’s accusers to “see reason.”
“Saif worked closely with Mr. Blair before he was captured. The two are old friends — it is time that Mr. Blair returned some loyalty,” Weinerman said. “Mr. Blair is a man of God — as a Christian he has a moral duty to help a friend in need.”
“You should just ask Mr. Blair what a serious, honorable person he [Saif] is,” she continued. “Killing him will achieve absolutely nothing, beyond punishing him for who his father was. Absolutely everything must be done to save him.”
Gaddafi is reported to be held by the Libyan rebel forces who captured him last November in a mountain town named Zintan, where he is set to go on trial later this month.
On Monday night, after her revelation had been reported in the Hebrew press, Weinerman posted a link to the Daily Mail story on her Facebook account and wrote that “for a long time I have had trouble falling asleep at night, revealing my anxiety among good friends and between the living room walls. But now, with injustice displayed proudly on the world stage, I challenge you to lend me a hand and save another victim from hatred, prejudice and moral corruption.”