Israel Briefs: Sara Netanyahu Fraud Trial Begins and More

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Sara Netanyahu Fraud Trial Begins

Sara Netanyahu’s trial on charges of fraud and breach of trust began Oct. 7 in a Jerusalem courtroom, JTA reported.

The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accused of ordering nearly $100,000 in private meals from posh restaurants instead of using the residence’s chef to cook meals — which has been dubbed the Prepared Food Affair. The meals were ordered between 2010 and 2013.

A June indictment filed by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit contends that Sara Netanyahu knew she was violating the rules when she ordered the meals, a claim her attorneys deny. The Netanyahus have called the charges “fake news” and “a campaign of character assassination.”


The prosecutor has asked that an expanded panel of three judges hear the case.

Angela Merkel: Country Has Special Obligation to Continue to Fight Anti-Semitism

Germany has a special obligation to fight anti-Semitism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Oct. 4 during a speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, JTA reported.

“Nearly 80 years ago, on the pogrom night of Nov. 9, the Jewish people in Germany faced unprecedented hate and violence,” she said, referring to Kristallnacht. “But what followed were the unprecedented crimes of the Shoah and its break with civilization. From this comes the everlasting responsibility of Germany to remember this crime and to oppose anti-Semitism, xenophobia, hatred and violence.”

Trump’s Popularity Rises in Israel

President Donald Trump may not be too popular worldwide, but Israelis are three times more likely to favorably view him than those surveyed in other allied countries, according to a Pew Research Center poll, JTA reported.

Trump’s positive rating in Israel climbed to 69 percent, up from 56 percent in 2017, the poll said, citing Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Eight of 10 Israelis view the United States favorably.

Meantime, favorable views of the U.S. have declined by 34 points in Mexico, 27 points in Germany, 26 points in Canada and 25 points in France. While more than 90 percent of Spaniards, Mexicans and Frenchmen said they had no confidence in Trump, just 31 percent of Israelis felt the same way.

U.S. Student Held at Israeli Airport

Israel denied a U.S. student with Palestinian grandparents entry into the country because of her alleged involvement with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, JTA reported.

Lara Alqasem — who has a valid student visa — has been detained at Ben Gurion Airport since Oct. 2 as she appeals the decision.

A University of Florida graduate, Alqasem received a student visa from the Consulate General of Israel in Miami to study in a master’s program in human rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While at Florida in 2016-17, she served as president of the BDS-supporting Students for Justice in Palestine.

The Tel Aviv Court of Appeals determined on Oct. 4 that border control authorities acted properly in ordering her sent home.

A U.S. Embassy official in Israel said the United States knows about Alqasem’s detention and is providing consular assistance. Hebrew University has offered its support for Alqasem. l

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