MK Michael Ben-Ari of the right-wing National Union party on Wednesday called on the attorney general to investigate Israeli model and actress Orly Weinerman over her affair with Saif Gaddafi, the son of Libya’s late dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Saif Gaddafi was “an enemy agent” who sought “to harm the state of Israel,” the Knesset member asserted. Since Weinerman maintained a connection with him, he claimed, she was in breach of the law.
Weinerman, 41, this week acknowledged having been involved in a six-year romantic relationship with Saif, and appealed to former British prime minister Tony Blair to intervene on his behalf and save his life. The son of the late despot faces the death penalty in his native Libya, where he is set to go on trial for his alleged part in the killing of protesters during last year’s civil war.
In his letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, which was quoted at length by the Hebrew daily Maariv, Ben-Ari calls Saif Gaddafi a “terrorist” and refers to his father as “the man in the dress.”
“There is no doubt that the goal of this man [Saif Gaddafi] was to harm the State of Israel and to collude with the worst of our enemies with the intention to destroy the state and the Jewish people,” he said, proceeding to quote Section 114 of the Israeli Penal Law, which mandates a 15-year prison term for citizens of the state who are convicted of maintaining contact with an enemy agent.
Weinerman — 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.
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.”
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.
“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, 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.”
Gabe Fisher contributed to this report.
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