prime minister

Prime Minister Bill English ahead in New Zealand election

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/new-zealanders-head-to-polls-for-neck-and-neck-national-vote/2017/09/22/247ca2b0-a00f-11e7-b2a7-bc70b6f98089_story.html?utm_term=.600cee5488f6

 

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Vote counts on Saturday night in New Zealand’s general election showed Prime Minister Bill English’s National Party ahead but not by enough to form a government without help from other parties.

That means New Zealanders may need to wait for days or even weeks to confirm whether English will retain the top job as the different political parties try to negotiate with each other to form a coalition.

There remained a remote chance that English’s main challenger, Jacinda Ardern, could take the role.

Still, the results will be pleasing to the National Party, which is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office. And they offer some redemption to English, who led his party to its worst-ever defeat in 2002.

English then became finance minister in 2008 when his party was led to victory by John Key. English spent eight years in that role before taking over the top job last December when Key resigned.

With more than three-quarters of the vote counted, the National Party was winning 46 percent of the vote, Ardern’s Labour Party was winning 36 percent, the New Zealand First Party 7 percent and the Green Party 6 percent.

Under New Zealand’s proportional voting system, large parties typically must form alliances with smaller ones in order to govern. The Green Party typically aligns with the liberal Labour Party.

But who New Zealand First will favor remains unclear. The party is led by maverick Winston Peters, who said Saturday that he would not be giving any answers over the next day or two until there was time for further consultation.

Ardern had enjoyed a remarkable surge in popularity since taking over as opposition leader last month. The 37-year-old has been greeted like a rock star at large rallies and has generated plenty of excitement among her fans.

English, 55, ran a more low-key campaign, highlighting his experience and the economic growth the country has enjoyed over recent years. He’s promising tax cuts for most workers.

Opinion polls indicate there was a swing back to English in the waning days of the campaign after Ardern had all the early momentum.

At stake for both candidates was how to capitalize on New Zealand’s growing economy.

English said people should stay the course after his government set the country on a path toward increasing prosperity. Ardern said she wants to build thousands of affordable homes to combat runaway house prices, spend more money on health care and education, and clean up polluted waterways.

English said he thinks the televised debates between the two candidates helped swing the momentum his way, as people focused more on the issues and how policy changes would affect them. But his opponent accused him of scaremongering over her plans for taxes and the economy.

“Certainly it’s been somewhat frustrating dealing with their negative campaign,” Ardern said.

English’s campaigning went better than many expected, including himself. He was seen by many as more of a numbers guy than a schmoozer. But he said he’d been surprised at how much he’d enjoyed all the handshaking.

Advertisements

Lobbying against Iran deal, PM to ‘connect dots’ to Syria, UN envoy says

NEW YORK — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lay out a comprehensive case against Iran in his upcoming speech at the United Nations, “connecting the dots” between the nuclear deal and Tehran’s desire to establish itself militarily on Israel’s northern border, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Sunday.

Netanyahu will make plain that in Jerusalem’s view the Iran nuclear pact must not be left intact, he said.

“The issue of North Korea is concerning, but we care about the Middle East. Iran will be major part of the prime minister’s speech, regarding the nuclear agreement but also what they are doing today in the region,” Danon told The Times of Israel.

Preventing Iran’s entrenchment on the Golan Heights, via its proxy Hezbollah, as part of an agreement to end the Syrian civil war “is the most important issue for Israel today,” Danon, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, said.

This issue, which is expected to take center stage during Netanyahu’s speech Tuesday, is intimately connected to the question over the future of the nuclear deal six world powers struck with Iran in 2015.

“Today, the Iranians have more funds, are able to send more troops and buy more weapons, support Hezbollah. It’s all connected,” Danon said. “I think the PM, who is an expert on that, will connect the dots. He will show they whole picture of what happens since the agreement, and what its consequences are today.”

Said Danon: “I think that today people in the world realize that once we speak about a threat, eventually it will become their own threat.”

Netanyahu, scheduled to speak at the UN a day after his third meeting this with US President Donald Trump, will argue that the nuclear deal needs to be amended or scrapped altogether, Danon predicted.

“You will hear from the prime minister that something must be done. We were not supportive of this agreement from the beginning, and we still are of the opinion that it’s a bad agreement,” he said.

Trump has indicated he will declare Iran non-compliant with the deal in a statement to Congress next month, but is thought unlikely to completely dismantle the agreement, which he had called “one of the worst deals ever” while on the campaign trail.

Danon said he was unaware about reported disagreements between Israel’s political and military leadership about whether it was wise to renegotiate the agreement now.

“The government of Israel’s policy is that it’s a bad agreement and we call on the international community to take action about it. That’s the position of the government of Israel, and the prime minister will stress it. When you come to the implementation of the changes, you can argue, how to do, when to do it — but you cannot leave it intact.”            

According to a Channel 2 report Sunday, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen is leading Israel’s “hawkish line” on Iran, calling for immediate action to ensure that Tehran cannot attain the bomb.

Other Israeli security officials, the report said, however, are warning that Israel should not be pushing the US into another Middle Eastern adventure, given what happened when the US tackled Iraq and Saddam’s supposed weapons of mass destruction over a decade ago.

On Monday, Netanyahu will reportedly present Trump with a comprehensive plan on how to either cancel or change the nuclear pact. His proposal will detail how “to cancel or at the very least introduce significant changes” to the accord, Channel 2 reported.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu will be present when Trump delivers his first address to the UN.

Unusually, Netanyahu will also speak on Tuesday — the first day of the General Assembly — as he is leaving the US later that day in order to be able to arrive in Israel before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which starts on Wednesday afternoon.

According to UN protocol, the GA’s first day is reserved for heads of states — kings and presidents — while prime ministers only get to speak on Day 3 of the gathering.

“I worked hard in order for the prime to speak on Tuesday, because of Rosh Hashanah,” explained Danon, who last week begun serving as the GA’s vice president. In that function, he will oversee the part of the Tuesday morning session during which Netanyahu will take the podium.

“It’s very hard to change protocol at the UN. You have so many countries, so many interests,” Danon said. “But I spoke to everyone, from the secretary-general (Antonio Guterres) to the president of the General Assembly (Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák) and dozen of other officials, to explain to them the significance of Rosh Hashanah, and the importance of the prime minister coming to speak at the UN.”

Bangladesh’s PM seeks help for Rohingya crisis as exodus tops 400,000

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AFP) — Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina headed for the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday to plead for global help coping with the Rohingya crisis, as the refugee deluge escaping a crackdown in Myanmar topped 400,000.

The prime minister left a day after her government summoned the Myanmar envoy for the third time to protest over its neighbor’s actions. Hasina is to demand more pressure on Myanmar during talks in New York.

Bangladesh has been overwhelmed by Rohingya Muslims since violence erupted in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar’s Rakhine state on August 25.

The United Nations said Saturday that the total number of people to have entered Bangladesh having fled the unrest had now reached 409,000, a leap of 18,000 in a day.

Conditions are worsening in the border town of Cox’s Bazar where the influx has added to pressures on Rohingya camps already overwhelmed with 300,000 people from earlier waves of refugees.

The UN said two children and a woman were killed in a “rampage” when a private group handed clothes near a camp on Friday.

Hasina is to speak at the UN on Thursday.

“She will seek immediate cessation of violence in Rakhine state in Myanmar and ask the UN secretary general to send a fact-finding mission to Rakhine,” a spokesman for the prime minister, Nazrul Islam, told AFP.

“She will also call the international community and the UN to put pressure on Myanmar for the repatriation of all the Rohingya refugees to their homeland in Myanmar,” he said.

Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali said: “We will continue international pressure on the Myanmar government to immediately end its ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.”

Backlash fears amid Myanmar tensions

As tensions mount between the neighbors, the foreign ministry on Friday summoned the Myanmar charge d’affaires in Dhaka to protest alleged violations of its airspace by Myanmar drones and helicopter.

The ministry warned that the three violations between September 10 and 14 could lead to “unwarranted consequences.” Myanmar did not immediately comment.

The Bangladeshi government earlier protested to the embassy over the planting of landmines near their border, which have killed several Rohingya, and the treatment of the refugees.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also said Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya could amount to ethnic cleansing.

The deaths of the three refugees backed warnings by UN agencies and other relief groups that the crisis could get out of control.

The World Health Organization and UN children’s agency on Saturday launched vaccination campaigns against measles, rubella and polio. They estimate that 60 percent of the new arrivals are children.

Most Rohingya, who spent more than a week trekking cross-country from Rakhine to reach the Bangladesh border, have found existing camps overflowing and have instead settled on muddy roadsides.

Many families do not have a shelter over their heads and refugees have been fighting for food and water deliveries.

“The needs are seemingly endless and the suffering is deepening,” said UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado.

Outside the giant Balukali camp, Jamila Khatun, 60, sat under a blue plastic bin bag held up by bamboo poles with her children and grandchildren as she recounted her journey to Bangladesh.

She said she handed over her jewellery to a Bangladesh boatman two days ago to get across the river frontier from Myanmar.

“We walked by night for three or four days to avoid the military and then came over by boat.

“We don’t know what we will do or where we will live but if people here feed us we will stay. We don’t want to go back,” she told AFP.

Nur Khan Liton, a respected Bangladeshi rights activist working with the refugees in Cox’s Bazar, told AFP: “Refugees are still pouring in. But there is no attempt to bring discipline and order in the aid management.”

Liton said the Rohingya “have become victims of muggings and extortion” and that cases of diarrhoea are spreading. “I heard that one Rohingya boy has died of diarrhoea.”

The government has put the army in charge of ferrying foreign relief aid from airports to Cox’s Bazar. It also plans to build 14,000 shelters, which it hopes will be enough for 400,000 people. Each shelter can house six refugee families.

Hasina has ordered the shelters erected within 10 days, Bangladesh’s disaster management secretary Shah Kama told AFP.

The authorities have sent police reinforcements to Cox’s Bazar to protect Buddhist temples in case of a radical Muslim backlash.

PM: PUBLIC EMBRACE RECEIVED IN LATIN AMERICA A SIGN OF ISRAEL’S STATURE

 

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/PM-Public-embrace-I-received-in-Latin-America-a-sign-of-Israels-stature-505177

 

MEXICO CITY — The fact that the presidents of three important countries in Latin America publicly embraced Israel over the last four days is a sign of the Jewish state’s rising stature in the region and the world, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Mexico City on Thursday, wrapping up his visit to Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.

“The leaders themselves are the best seismographs,” Netanyahu told reporters in a briefing after a four-hour meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the Los Pinos presidential residence. “They understand that not only does the public not have a problem with their public embrace of Israel, but it has benefits. There is a lot of sympathy [for Israel],” he said.

Netanyahu, who characterized Israel’s relationship with Mexico as a “great friendship,” said that he was not surprised by the warmth of his reception in Latin America. He said that what did surprise him was the lack of protest and criticism in the media, especially since he was warned beforehand that Israel has a problem in Latin America.

“Maybe in Venezuela,” he quipped, but not in the countries he visited.

Netanyahu was scheduled to leave Mexico for New York on Friday, where he is slated to meet US President Donald Trump on Monday, and address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

A tweet Netanyahu posted in January that was interpreted as support for Trump’s desire to build a wall with Mexico and infuriated the Mexican government and the Jewish community did not come up when the prime minister and Peña Nieto held a press conference, with one senior Israeli diplomatic saying that the two countries have “turned the page” on the issue.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuand wfie Sara at an event for the Jewish community in Mexico City, September 14, 2017Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuand wfie Sara at an event for the Jewish community in Mexico City, September 14, 2017

It also did not prevent hundreds of members of the 45,000-strong Jewish community from giving Netanyahu a rousing ovation when he spoke Thursday at the local Jewish center.

Following his meeting with Netanyahu, Peña Nieto thanked the Jewish community for their “valuable contributions to the economic, social and cultural development of the country.” He also said that they were an important source of employment for the country.

Not only did Peña Nieto not mention the tweet about the wall during brief remarks he gave after meeting Netanyahu, but – like Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes – he also did not mention the Palestinian issue.

Netanyahu said that the Palestinians would not have come up in his meeting with the Mexican president had he not brought it up himself.

“I raised the Palestinian issue,” he said, explaining that he then gave a brief lecture to Peña Nieto and nearly half his cabinet at the meeting on how neither the conflict with the Palestinians nor the settlements were at the heart of the problems plaguing the Middle East.

During the meeting the two sides agreed to upgrade and modernize the free trade agreement between them which is outdated and does not provide any provisions for new developments such as e-trade.

They also signed agreements governing cooperation between the countries’ two space programs, tourism, aviation, and in the areas of international development.

Peña Nieto asked Israel to become involved in development programs in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, in what is called Central America’s Northern Triangle. Mexico and the US are cooperating in providing development aid there in an effort to stabilize the economy and prevent migration northward.

During his statement alongside Peña Nieto, Netanyahu apologized for this trip being the first time an Israeli prime minister ever visited the country, saying this was “an unpardonable lapse, but we want pardon.”

Netanyahu said that this visit corrected that “historic lapse, because Mexico is a great country. It’s one of the world’s great economies, it’s a great nation, a great people, a great culture. We want to be close, even closer to Mexico, and this is what this meeting signifies.”

ISRAELI CONSULATE IN NY OPENS AGAIN DESPITE THREAT AGAINST PM

 

Israel’s mission to New York reopened after being sealed shut on Friday night after a package containing white powder and a letter threatening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was received, a source in the consulate building confirmed to The Jerusalem Post.

Prime minister Netanyahu landed in New York a short while ago.

The Israeli Consulate was closed off due to the suspicious nature of the powder in the package, and the staff has been ordered to remain inside while the material was inspected.

The source told the Post that the building has been on lockdown and no one was allowed to enter or leave the premises. New York State Department Police have been called to the scene after the contents of the package were discovered and screened in the consulate’s screening room.

The Post has also learned that the threatening letter in question was written in English and addressed directly to the premier.

According to Israeli media, the letter contained an explicit death threat.

This threat came mere hours before the prime minister landed in New York in order to participate in the United Nations General Assembly’s 72nd session, where he is slated to speak on Tuesday as well as meet US President Donald Trump.

Israel could get something from Arab states for fighting terror, PM hints

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Israel could receive something from moderate Arab states in return for cooperating in anti-terror efforts, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

“Today there’s almost no government, in the entire world, that is not willing to cooperate with us on the matter of [fighting] terrorism; it almost doesn’t exist,” he told reporters at a briefing. “Even if their public statements may say the opposite, in fact it doesn’t really exist. It almost doesn’t exist. That’s a major change, and it shows appreciation for our capabilities.”

Netanyahu hinted that Israel was in a position to receive some sort of benefit in return for working on countering terror, but did not go into details or even confirm if Israel was getting anything.

“Generally, in order to receive, you need to give. This puts Israel in a very strong position in the international arena. And I don’t just say that. We have capabilities that no other country in the world has. No one has better capabilities than we have. And [fighting] terror — that interests everyone.”

Netanyahu has for years contended that Israel’s relations with the Arab world are dramatically improving and now include clandestine security and intelligence cooperation.

Moderate Arab leaders realize that Iran — and not Israel — is the real danger to peace and stability in the region, he routinely postulates, despite the fact that Arab states other than Egypt and Jordan deny any ties with Israel.

The prime minister’s statement Tuesday appears to mark the first time that he has addressed Israel getting anything in return for the assistance it provides to the Arab world.

On Monday, Netanyahu, on a state visit to Latin America, said Israel “is helping all the countries that fight” against terrorism. “Indeed, many have joined this war, and there have been some achievements.”

Last week, Netanyahu, who is also foreign minister, spoke of a “breakthrough” in Israel’s relations with the Arab bloc.

“What is actually happening with them has not happened in our history even when we signed the peace agreements,” he said an a Jewish New Year toast at the Foreign Ministry.

“There is cooperation in various ways, on various levels, but is not yet out in the open. But what is not yet out in the open is much greater than in any other period in Israeli history. This is a major change. The entire world is changing.”

Israel and the Arab world have been engaging for decades in various, mostly clandestine ways. In the 1990s, in the wake of the Oslo Accords, trade and political ties grew stronger. In 1996, then-acting prime minister Shimon Peres visited Oman and Qatar to officially open “Israel Trade Representation Offices” in both countries.

Overt ties with Oman didn’t last even for half a decade. In October 2000, when the Second Intifada began, Omani rulers felt the public opinion had turned against Israel, and suspended relations and closed the mission.

Qatar shuttered the Israeli mission in 2009 because of Operation Cast Lead, a military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

Intelligence minister urges PM to lobby Trump for Iran deal do-over

PM’s son removes anti-Semitic cartoon post, but offers no apology

Amid widespread criticism, Yair Netanyahu, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, on Sunday removed a controversial meme he had posted on his Facebook page that included anti-Semitic themes.

The cartoon, posted Friday on Yair Netanyahu’s private Facebook profile, featured references to Jewish billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, the Illuminati and some sort of lizard creature.

It takes aim at his parents’ critics, including former prime minister Ehud Barak, lawyer and Labor party activist Eldad Yaniv, and Menny Naftali, a former caretaker at the Prime Minister’s Residence, who is at the heart of allegations of wrongdoing over which Sara Netanyahu, Yair’s mother, is facing indictment.

Yair Netanyahu posted the graphic with the caption: “Food chain.”

The young Netanyahu took the post down on Sunday more than 24 hours after it sparked an outcry from Israeli and US Jewish leaders. As of Sunday night, he had offered no apology nor expressed remorse.

There was no comment from the prime minister either. Asked directly about the post by reporters at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said briskly that “this is not a press conference.”

The Israel office of the Anti-Defamation League on Sunday took Yair Netanyahu to task over the meme, even as leading white supremacists celebrated his use of the image.

“The cartoon that Yair Netanyahu posted contains blatantly anti-Semitic elements,” the ADL tweeted in Hebrew. “The dangers inherent in anti-Semitic discourse should not be taken lightly.”

Netanyahu’s Friday post has been shared by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and other anti-Semites.

Leading US neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer welcomed the younger Netanyahu as one of their own on Saturday, praising him for using the image.

In an article titled “Netanyahu’s Son Posts Awesome Meme Blaming the Jews for Bringing Down His Jew Father,” the website wrote, “Yair Netanyahu is a total bro.”

“Next he’s going [sic] call for gassings,” the website added.

“Welcome to the club, Yair — absolutely amazing, wow, just wow,” Duke, the former KKK leader, tweeted as well as sharing media reports about the meme.

Israel’s Channel 2 news said Sunday night that “senior US Jewish leaders close to Netanyahu” were demanding an apology from Yair Netanyahu over the incident. It quoted them saying they were “shocked and appalled at the notion that the son of Prime Minister Netanyahu would post a cartoon of an anti-Semitic nature. It is understandable that a son would want to defend his father during a difficult period, but what he did is unacceptable.”

The unnamed leaders urged the prime minister’s son not only to remove the cartoon from his Facebook page, but also to “dissociate himself from the embrace of the extreme right. It is the prime minister’s obligation to ensure that his son takes responsibility and apologizes,” the reported said.

Political leaders in Israel have also lashed Yair Netanyahu for the cartoon.

The opposition Labor Party’s chairman, Avi Gabbay, told Army Radio the post “crossed every line imaginable,” saying it was a “very sad” day for Israel and the Jewish people when the prime minister’s son posts a cartoon that the leader of the Ku Klux Klan can endorse.

Barak, one of the meme’s targets, wondered on Twitter whether Yair Netanyahu, who enjoys a state-funded driver and bodyguard while living at the prime minister’s official residence, absorbed his ideology at home.

“What is it, genetics or a spontaneous mental illness? It doesn’t matter. In any case, we ought to pay for him to have a psychiatrist, not a bodyguard and a chauffeur,” Barak tweeted.

Yair Netanyahu responded by calling Barak a drunk who needed geriatric care. Earlier, he accused the Haaretz daily of being anti-Semitic, after it reported on the cartoon.

The 26-year-old Netanyahu has drawn criticism for living a life of privilege at taxpayers’ expense and for his crude social media posts.

The Netanyahu family is facing a slew of corruption allegations. The prime minister has been questioned about his ties to executives in media, international business and Hollywood. His associates have been engulfed in a probe relating to a possible conflict of interest involving the $2 billion purchase of German submarines. Israel’s attorney general has said he intends to indict the prime minister’s wife, Sara, for fraud over her bloated household expenses.

Yair Netanyahu, who has reportedly taken a leading role in his father’s aggressive social media platform, has also been drawn into the scandals.

Australian billionaire James Packer has reportedly lavished Yair with gifts that included extended stays at luxury hotels in Tel Aviv, New York and Aspen, Colorado, as well as the use of his private jet and dozens of tickets for concerts by Packer’s former fiancee, Mariah Carey.

Police are trying to determine whether these constitute bribes, since Packer is reportedly seeking Israeli residency status for tax purposes.

The prime minister has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, portraying the accusations as a witch hunt against him and his family by a hostile media. He has resisted increasingly vocal calls for him to step down.

At the opening of Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Netanyahu declined to respond to questions about his son’s social media posts, saying, “This isn’t a press conference.”

PM’s son posts cartoon with alleged anti-Semitic origin to slam parents’ critics

Yaniv tweeted the cartoon, along with what he described as its “source of inspiration” lifted from anti-Semitic sites, on Saturday.

“On the right, a post by the son of the prime minister of the Jewish people,” wrote Yaniv, displaying the cartoon posted by Yair Netanyahu which appears to suggest that Soros, via the lizard — a possible reference to the anti-Semitic concept of “reptilian Jews” — working through some sort of Illuminati schemer, is behind a series of allegations against his parents.

Alongside the cartoon in Yaniv’s tweet is a similar one, said to be the original, portraying a Jewish character — often seen in anti-Semitic memes and other propaganda — as the mastermind behind what appears to be American obesity and/or love of hamburgers.

בתמונה מימין: פוסט של בנו של ראש ממשלת העם היהודי.

בתמונה משמאל: מקור ההשראה האנטישמי.

Barak tweeted hours later, suggesting taxpayers fund a psychiatrist to examine Yair Netanyahu.

זה מה שהילד שומע בבית? מה זה, גנטיקה או מחלת רוח עצמונית? לא משנה. בכל מקרה כדאי מאוד שנממן לו פסיכיאטר, ולא אבטחה ונהג צמוד

“Is this what the boy hears at home?” asked Barak in his tweet. “We’d better fund a psychiatrist for him…”

Yair Netanyahus post came after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced that Sara Netanyahu is to be indicted, pending a hearing, for fraud, for allegedly diverting some NIS 360,000 ($102,000) of shekels in public funds for her own use, with the specific intention of avoiding payment of personal expenses over private meals ordered to the Prime Minister’s Residence.

The Netanyahus have blamed the legal entanglement on Naftali, who served as caretaker in the Prime Minister’s Residence for a period of two years. In Yair’s cartoon, a tray of food appears alongside a photo of Naftali.

“Expenditure over food ordered in disposable containers had remarkably inflated during the time when state witness Menny Naftali served as caretaker, and miraculously dropped when he left,” Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post this week.

“Why did expenses grow precisely during these years? Who ate or has taken this huge number of containers and meals, that were enough to feed a soccer team? Certainly not the Netanyahu family,” Netanyahu wrote.

“You should understand, this is what the entire story against the prime minister’s wife is based on. They told us about the garden furniture, the electrician, the bottles, the waiters, the nanny – in the end all that’s left is the bizarre and false story of the [food] containers, most of which were ordered by Menny Naftali. This, too, will evaporate during the hearing,” he wrote.

The prime minister, separately, is being investigating in a number of corruption allegations, for which he has been called on to resign, including most recently by former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Barak recently mocked Netanyahu for claiming that “all politicians speak to publishers,” after the prime minister was forced to reveal following a court ruling that he had spoken with the financial backer and the editor-in-chief of the Israel Hayom daily, Sheldon Adelson and Amos Regev respectively, hundreds of times in a three-year period.

Netanyahu has faced deepening legal trouble in a group of criminal probes, including suspicions that he tried to arrange more favorable coverage from the publisher of a rival publication in exchange for curbing Israel Hayom’s circulation numbers. Both Adelson and Regev have given police testimony in the corruption probes against the prime minister. Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.

Yaniv, for his part, may have been targeted in the cartoon for co-initiating a High Court petition in January calling to instruct Mandelblit to be transparent in his probes of Netanyahu, particularly regarding a submarine deal with the German company ThyssenKrupp.

Yair Netanyahu has been in the headlines several times in the past few weeks, after claiming that American left-wing groups are more dangerous than neo-Nazis, following deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a far-right march, and US President Donald Trump’s controversial statements that “both sides were to blame” for the violence.

The prime minister’s son also lashed out at a group called Sixty One which criticized his lifestyle in a Facebook post in July. He accused the group of serving a radical left-wing agenda and drawing a threat of a libel lawsuit.

A few days earlier, Yair Netanyahu made the news over an incident in which he reportedly refused to clean up after his dog. A woman said Netanyahu junior flipped her the bird after she asked him to clean up the family dog’s excrement in a Jerusalem park.

Argentine Jews to fund $100,000 of PM’s Buenos Aires trip — report

Argentina’s Jewish community will reportedly fund a large portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to the South American country, prompting some complaints from Argentine Jewish leaders over the high cost.

After the country’s Jewish community agreed to foot some $100,000 of the bill, some Argentinian Jewish leaders having been looking for ways to lower the tab in a bid to instead divert funds to local Jewish causes, the Globes business daily reported Monday.

As part of the efforts to cut the trip’s cost, Jewish leaders have asked David Sutton Dabbah, an Orthodox Jew who owns the Alvear Palace Hotel, to lower the bill for Netanyahu’s stay at the hotel, according to the report.

Agustin Zbar, the president of the AMIA Jewish center, said the organization was funding a large part of Netanyahu’s trip “out of a feeling of solidarity.”

“Yes. Not all of his stay, but we, the Jewish community, are covering a great deal of the prime minister’s expenses, out of a feeling of solidarity,” Zbar told Globes, although he declined to say what specifically the Jewish community would be paying for.

Zbar also said he was told by the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that the prime minister’s trip was a “private” visit.

The Foreign Ministry told the paper in response that “the visit to Latin America is a working visit. Israel is paying the expenses,” while the Prime Minister’s Office said it had no knowledge of the Jewish community’s funding of the trip.

The report said a number of Jewish leaders were upset over having to pay for part of the trip, believing the money could be better used towards funding religious seminaries, aid for impoverished members of the Jewish community, and other social programs.

Luis Grynwald, a former head of AMIA and the current vice president of the DAIA Jewish umbrella organization, told Globes that Sutton Dabbah “does not need AMIA to pay for the prime minister, and it’s unreasonable for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs to allow it,” although he conceded “I don’t have all the information.”

Zbar said the Jewish community expects Netanyahu to visit the AMIA building during his trip in order to honor the victims of the deadly 1994 bombing and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy, in which 85 and 29 people were killed, respectively.

Netanyahu’s visit in September to Argentina, which has one of the world’s largest Jewish communities, will mark the first-ever visit by an Israeli prime minister to a Latin American country.

In addition to Argentina, the prime minister will also visit Colombia and Mexico, before heading to the United Nations General Assembly meeting in the United States, where he will reportedly meet with US President Donald Trump.