Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received the personal effects of his late brother this week, 43 years after his death in a commando raid to free Israeli hostages in Entebbe, Uganda.
However, according to a report, at least some of the items received by the prime minister from a man who claimed to serve with Yoni Netanyahu in the military may have been forgeries.
Yosef Shemesh told Netanyahu and his brother Iddo Netanyahu that he had served with Yoni in the IDF armored corps on the Golan Heights and had kept some of his personal items, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Among the items that Shemesh handed over were Yoni Netanyahu’s Passover Haggadah, other books that he had given to Shemesh, his army coveralls, a t-shirt, gloves, a sleeping bag and a compass.
Yoni Netanyahu served in the Golan as the commander of an armored brigade before returning to the Sayeret Matkal commando unit in 1975, a year before his death.
He was killed in a famous IDF operation to free hostages after pro-Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Air France flight and diverted the plane to Entebbe Airport in 1976.
At the meeting on Monday, Netanyahu received the effects, including the Passover Haggadah, which is mentioned in the 1980 book written by the two Netanyahu brothers,”The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu” — a collection of his letters to his family and close friends.
At the meeting, Netanyahu said he recognized the items and was very moved.
A video clip of the brothers receiving the items on Monday shows them smiling as they look through the clothing and books their fallen brother had left behind.
However, according to a report in the Ynet news site, the Passover Haggadah that allegedly belonged to Yoni Netanyahu was printed four years after his death.
PM Netanyahu: "We recognize some of these items. This commando knife was in the unit. We recognize Yoni's books. Here is the Haggadah, ahead of Passover, that he used at the seder he held for his soldiers. This is a very moving memento from the past. I am very grateful, thank you pic.twitter.com/FBJhKwd380
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 15, 2019
Shemesh had previously tried to sell some of the items to auction houses and was rejected because buyers feared that the items were not authentic, Ynet reported.
More than a year ago, Shemesh sold a picture to a man and told him about the Netanyahu items he was holding. That same man advised him to hand the collection over to the prime minister, according to Ynet.
Shemesh said at the meeting that he tried to contact the Prime Minister’s Office using WhatsApp, but received no response. The Monday meeting finally happened after another person apparently helped connect Shemesh to the office, the report stated.
It was not clear why Shemesh had been given the items and why he did not try to return them earlier.
JTA contributed to this article