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Milchan aide tells court of working Netanyahu, US diplomats to get visa

Hadas Klein, aide to Arnon Milchan, arrives to testify in the trial of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at Jerusalem District Court on July 6, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Hadas Klein, aide to Arnon Milchan, arrives to testify in the trial of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at Jerusalem District Court on July 6, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

An aide to Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan tells a Jerusalem courtroom hearing the graft case against Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu that the former prime minister and a US ambassador pulled strings to get Milchan a visa to remain in the US.

Hadas Klein, a key witness in a case involving illicit gifts received by the ex-premier, tells the court that she was enlisted to help Milchan attempt to renew his visa in December 2013 after the producer was rejected during a meeting with US officials.

“He asked me to reach out to Dan Shapiro, [then] US ambassador to Israel, but he didn’t answer. So he asked me to raise Netanyahu.”

She says she had so many calls with Netanyahu aide Ari Harow that when investigators showed her the log she was “shocked.”

Netanyahu called her back in the middle of the night and told her “what is Milchan worried about. It’ll be taken care of.”

Soon after, she says, “I got a call from Shapiro, or his aide, and they told me the visa was approved and I should come to the embassy to get it.”

When Milchan, who has admitted to working for Israel’s spy agency in the past, fumed that the visa was only good for a year, Netanyahu put her in touch with John Kerry, who was US secretary of state at the time, and Milchan soon secured a 10-year pass.

Case 1000 revolves around allegations that Netanyahu and his family received expensive gifts illicitly from Milchan and Australian media scion James Packer, whom Klein also assisted. Milchan is suspected of giving the gifts in exchange for help with the visa.

Klein tells the court that Netanyahu’s wife requested jewelry worth some $2,000 from Milchan, who attempted to hold off on the purchase. “Two months go by, and one day she asks if I can come to Caesarea, since Netanyahu approved the purchase. I told Milchan and he said there’s no choice.”

In contrast, she says Prime Minister Yair Lapid refused to receive a bouquet of flowers that Milchan had sent over to his home when he was appointed finance minister in 2013. Another time, Milchan accidentally left an earpiece at Lapid’s home, and according to Klein, Lapid insisted he send over a driver to get them as he didn’t want even a hint of a gift.

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