Daily Israel Report

Sharon´s Friend to Build Casino in Gaza

Cyril Kern, whose donations to the Sharon family have been the subject of police investigation, is one of the financial partners in a casino-to-be-built in northern Gaza if Israel withdraws.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 7/25/2005, 1:34 PM / Last Update: 7/25/2005, 11:13 AM

Former MK Shmuel Flatto-Sharon (pictured, right), the major player in the plans to build the casino, revealed to Arutz-7's Itzik Wolf that among his partners are a Saudi Arabian billionaire and Kern (pictured, left).

Flatto-Sharon said that he has already been in contact with the Palestinian Authority regarding his plans to build the casino on the lands of what is now Elei Sinai, one of the three Jewish communities in northern Gaza. Elei Sinai is the closest of the three to what will become, under Prime Minister Sharon's withdrawal plan, the PA-Israel border - only a couple of hundred meters away.

Cyril Kern is an old war-time buddy of Ariel Sharon who has long lived in South Africa. He and the Saudi businessman recently toured the area on which the casino/resort is to be built. Flatto-Sharon said he plans to conduct talks with Israel about ensuring that the homes of Elei Sinai remain standing, to be used to house future casino employees.

In 2003, the police began investigating a $1.5 million loan that Kern made to Sharon and/or his sons. The information was considered so damaging by a State Prosecution attorney that just three weeks before the national elections, she secretly faxed the story to a Ha'aretz reporter. She later explained that because she had a son of army age, she did not want Sharon to be re-elected as Prime Minister. The attorney was later forced to resign her position and pay a fine.

The Saudi billionaire arrived in Israel several months ago, at the behest of Labor MK Ephraim Sneh. He met at the time with senior officials in the Prime Minister's Bureau and discussed with them the possibility of his purchasing all the houses in Gush Katif for the price of seven billion dollars.

Flatto-Sharon said that the casino project will only begin after the disengagement. It will include a casino, a motel, and a five-star, 400-room hotel. The town's synagogue will remain standing for the benefit of the expected Israeli and Jewish gamblers.

The former MK, who served in the 9th Knesset on an independent party list, told Wolf that he has a detailed map of Elei Sinai that he received from the PA minister Kadura Fares. Fares himself received it lately from the Israel Defense Forces.

Flatto-Sharon said that half of the expected profits, which he calculates will reach a million dollars a day, "will be donated to the poor and underprivileged... for instance, the local municipal council workers who have not received salaries for several months."

Wolf reported that his query on the topic to the Prime Minister's Bureau has not yet been answered.

Sharon's top aide Dov Weisglass has long been accused of having conflicts of interests related to the casino in Jericho and a planned casino in Gaza. See
"http://israelbehindthenews.com/Archives/Sep-27-04.htm#NigudInteresssim" by David Bedein for details.