Israel-American billionaire Arnon Milchan lambasted Israeli right-wing attacks on his aide Hadas Klein, a key witness in the trial of Benjamin Netanyahu who filed a police complaint on Thursday against a journalist for harassment.
Klein has this week been giving testimony in Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly accepting luxury gifts from Milchan and Packer worth NIS 691,776 ($200,000). The indictment alleges that in return, the former prime minister assisted Milchan with personal visa issues and regulatory and tax benefits relating to his business interests in Israel.
Right-wing journalist Eli Zipori on Thursday tweeted a picture of Klein’s home in Herzliya and accused her of “hypocrisy” over her ongoing testimony in the Netanyahu trial. While a bit blurry, the picture showed the home’s address.
Law enforcement officials are looking into Klein’s complaint against Zipori.
“I am disgusted by the wild and unbridled incitement, the explicit and implicit threats and the outright slander against staff that has stood by my side for years with devotion and professionalism,” Milchan said in a statement to Channel 12.
“I unequivocally condemn any attempt to defame them and to wrongfully pressure them and I give them full backing in the face of such attacks.
The network said Klein told police investigators she felt nothing but “disdain” for Zipori and that “there is no way he will prevent me from giving my truthful testimony.”
In his tweet, Zipori wrote: “Hadas Klein who played the victim in her testimony, saying she is ‘carrying the family burden’ and ‘was almost fired,’ is living in a villa in Herzliya estimated at NIS 10 million, which she purchased back in 2013.”
Klein has been the target of online harassment in the past.
In June, she was threatened by a person identifying himself as Shimon Carmieli on Twitter, posting threats and offensive messages against Klein for months that included messages like: “With God’s help, soon Hadas Klein will die” and “I hope that Hadas Klein has a seizure in her black heart.”
Klein, an assistant to billionaires Milchan and James Packer, has described during her testimony at the Jerusalem District Court the incessant demands for luxury goods made for years by former prime minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara to her bosses.
Her testimony is highly significant since it undermines Netanyahu’s defense that he was merely accepting gifts from a friend and that he was not aware of the extent of the gifts.
On Tuesday, Klein described how Milchan had requested and obtained Netanyahu’s help in securing a long-term US visa.
In her testimony, she said that Netanyahu and his staff connected Milchan to then-US secretary of state John Kerry and he eventually managed to obtain the 10-year visa.
Along with Case 1000, Netanyahu faces fraud and breach of trust charges in two other cases, as well as bribery in one of them. He has denied wrongdoing and claimed without evidence that the charges were fabricated and part of a bid by the state prosecution and political rivals to force him from office.