'Stop criticizing law enforcement'

Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens, who is credited with bringing Netanyahu into politics, now has criticism for protege.

Tzvi Lev ,

Moshe Arens
Moshe Arens
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Moshe Arens is widely seen as responsible for bringing Prime Minister Netanyahu into politics, but on Thursday, the former Defense Minister voiced rare criticism of his protege, calling his receipt of gifts while in office "unacceptable"

While serving as Foreign Minister in 1982, Arens appointed him as his Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C, a position Netanyahu used as a stepping stone to becoming Israel's US Ambassador in 1984.

On Thursday, however, Arens expressed concerns over the investigations against Netanyahu, and said that the gifts the Prime Minister allegedly received were "inappropriate".

Arens told the Reshet Bet radio station that he hoped the police were mistaken in recommending that Netanyahu be indicted for bribery and breach of trust. "It's very unpleasant," Arens said regarding the suspicions against Netanyahu, "I can only hope that this is not the case, I am an engineer and not a lawyer, and I have the patience to wait for law enforcement to finish their work."

Arens also slammed Netanyahu for accepting champagne, cigars, and whiskey from billionaires James Packer and Arnon Milchan."Receiving such gifts by a public figure is inappropriate," said Arens.

"If I met Netanyahu, I would tell him not to criticize law enforcement, despite the temptation," added Arens.

Police had recommended last week that Netanyahu be charged with receiving bribes and breach of trust in connection with the “Case 1000” investigation into alleged gifts received from a Hollywood filmmaker. Investigators also say they have sufficient evidence to charge the Prime Minister with receiving bribes in the “Case 2000” investigation and to try the publisher of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper for offering bribes.

Following the police recommendation, the two cases now go to the Attorney General, who will determine whether either case has sufficient grounds to merit an indictment. The decision is expected to take at least several weeks.

In an investigation nicknamed 'Case 4000', police are investigating whether Netanyahu relaxed regulation that was digging into the profits of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq in exchange for positive media coverage by a newspaper owned by Bezeq's majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch.