Key witness counters defense claim that Netanyahu was given gifts out of genuine friendship

Hadas Klein at the Jerusalem District Court in Jerusalem on July 12, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Hadas Klein at the Jerusalem District Court in Jerusalem on July 12, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A key witness for the state prosecution in Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial tells the court that she didn’t deliberately try to hide messages on her phone during interrogations, as the defense lays out its argument that luxury gifts were given to the Netanyahus out of genuine friendship rather than any quid pro quo.

Hadas Klein, the personal assistant of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and an aide to Australian billionaire James Packer, is on the stand at the Jerusalem District Court for the start of her cross-examination by the defense after three days of testimony on Case 1000.

In an apparent attempt to frame the high-end gifts to the Netanyahus as an exchange between friends, defense lawyer Amit Haddad presents correspondence between Klein and Packer as well as Klein and Sara Netanyahu.

When Haddad posits to Klein that messages shown to the court are an example of the warm friendship she had with Sara Netanyahu, the executive assistant says that being nice to people was part of her job.

“I did it happily because it’s my job and I do everything needed, including being nice. It’s part of my job — I cannot tell Arnon that I do not agree to do it, because then I would be sent home,” Klein says.

A photograph of Sara Netanyahu (left) and Amanda Milchan presented during the cross-examination of key Case 1000 witness Hadas Klein, an aide to Arnon Milchan, at the trial of Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem District Court on July 12, 2022 (Courtesy)

The defense also shows a photograph of Sara Netanyahu and Milchan’s wife Amanda to underline the argument that they were good friends.

In an apparent attempt to undermine her testimony and imply bias, Haddad questions Klein on her political views, citing an article saying she is on the center-left of the political spectrum.

“I do not think there is anyone without a [political] opinion,” Klein says. “This shocks me. I have never done anything because of a political opinion. By the way, I think Benjamin Netanyahu is a great leader.”

Haddad then asks Klein if she voted for Netanyahu in the last election, but Klein notes that she doesn’t need to reveal who she cast a ballot for.

At one stage, Haddad accuses Klein of working with the police to discredit the Netanyahus.

“You and the police have an interest in blackening the names of Sara Netanyahu and Benjamin Netanyahu,” Haddad claims.

“I conspired with the police? Give me a break,” Klein responds.

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