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Police probe threats to key witness in Netanyahu gifts case – report

Twitter user posted messages wishing injury to Hadas Klein, assistant to mogul Arnon Milchan, who has testified about expensive items at heart of Case 1000

Hadas Klein (Twitter screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
Hadas Klein (Twitter screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

A key witness in a corruption case against opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu received threats from one of the lawmaker’s ardent supporters, according to a report Wednesday.

Hadas Klein is due to testify in Case 1000, one of three graft cases against Netanyahu, involving suspicions he illicitly accepted some $200,000 in gifts such as jewelry, cigars and champagne from two billionaires — Hollywood-based Israeli movie mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian magnate James Packer — when he was prime minister.

A Twitter user by the name of Shimon Carmieli posted several offensive messages against Klein in recent months including “With God’s help, soon Hadas Stein will die” and “I hope that Hadas Klein has a seizure in her black heart,” Channel 13 news reported.

Police called Carmieli in for questioning and he was given a warning as well as restraining order to stay away from Klein. Prosecutors are considering filing an indictment against him, according to the report.

Police expect that as testimony hearings for Case 1000 draw closer, there will be an increase in incitement, the report said.

Carmieli’s Twitter account shows him to be a prolific user, tirades daily posting against those he perceives as opponents of Netanyahu or the nationalist camp.

On Wednesday Carmieli attacked MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the mostly Arab-member Joint List party, writing that Odeh is “another bastard terrorist sonofabitch. That son of a thousand whores should be expelled from the country. Soon Likud [the party led by Netanyahu] will come back [to power] and we will pass a law that a bastard like Ayman Odeh be expelled from the country.”

Klein, a former personal assistant to Milchan, has reportedly testified to police that Netanyahu was aware of at least some of the expensive jewelry bought for his wife, Sara. She is scheduled to go on the witness stand in two weeks.

According to Hebrew media reports, Klein told investigators on October 24, 2021, that Milchan and Packer jointly bought jewelry and bags for Netanyahu’s wife that were worth hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Klein reportedly described how Milchan and Packer gave Sara Netanyahu three bracelets, one of which was worth some $45,000. Klein said the jewelry and bags were given to her, at her request, to mark a personal event.

A bracelet allegedly given illicitly to Sara Netanyahu (Channel 12 /Uvda screenshot)

Channel 12 reported at the time that Klein was adamant the ex-PM knew about the gifts for his wife; Klein, it said, testified that Sara told her her husband had not liked the costly bracelet.

Her testimony prompted then-attorney general Avichai Mandelblit to approve further investigation activities, some of which were carried out abroad. Prosecutors later asked that additional witnesses be called and earlier this week the court agreed. The three requested witnesses are Milchan’s daughter Elinor, Packer’s personal assistant Ian Morris, who bought the bracelets, and Inbar Blankman, who worked at the Caprice Jewelry Shop in Ramat Gan where the expensive jewelry was procured.

In earlier testimony in 2017, Klein described the specific arrangements for the deliveries of high-end cigars and champagne, according to Hebrew media reports at the time.

Former prime minister MK Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in his trial, at the District Court in Jerusalem on May 31, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Netanyahu is on trial in three corruption cases. He faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000 and in Case 2000, and charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000. He denies wrongdoing and says the charges were fabricated in a political coup, led by the police and state prosecution.

On Wednesday, a complaint was filed with police over a death threat against Netanyahu that was posted on social media.

“This man should be killed quickly before it is too late,” read the comment posted on Twitter, in response to an article about Netanyahu.

The threat was made by a Twitter user under the handle “J&P,” the Ynet news site reported.

Netanyahu has made several complaints to police over threats to harm him and his family. In December, a man was indicted for harassment over a tweet in which he graphically threatened to sexually assault Sara Netanyahu.

Case 4000 is already being heard in court. Last November, a key witness in the case, Nir Hefetz, filed a police complaint after a supporter of the former prime minister was heard making death threats against him outside the courthouse.

The man in question could be heard shouting “Nir Hefetz should die, Nir Hefetz should not live” into a megaphone at a rally outside the Jerusalem District Court, where the Netanyahu trial is taking place.

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