The High Court of Justice rejects a petition by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, which demanded an investigation into alleged wrongdoing in a payment by the Wexner Foundation to former prime minister Ehud Barak.
The petition has echoed conspiracy theories circulated on social media — including by Likud — of an alleged left-wing interference by the US foundation in Israeli politics, which makes use of the fact that sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein used to work for it.
It demanded a probe into a payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Barak in 2004-2006 for two research papers — one of which was never completed — while he wasn’t in politics.
The judges reject the claim and criticize Likud.
“The current petition failed to provide a minimal factual basis,” wrote Justice Yitzhak Amit. “The petitioner took ‘Wexner Foundation,’ added ‘Jeffrey Epstein,’ sprinkled a fair amount of ‘convicted pedophile’ and a pinch of ‘Lolita Express plane,’ and poured Defendant 3 [Barak] onto all of that — thus creating a dish that brings the aroma of social media to the courtroom. The petition is composed of hints, slander and speculation.”
Fellow judge Yosef Elron says no incriminating information was provided beyond the fact that the payments were made.
The judges order Likud to pay the state, Barak and the Wexner Foundation NIS 5,000 ($1,550) each.