The investigations are ongoing, the accused are offering defenses, but you have to admit: The Israeli scandal surrounding claims of improper gifts from Australian billionaire James Packer has led to a headline that will live in the annals of Israeli spycraft.
According to the Haaretz article from which we lifted the headline, which bases itself on reports from Israel’s Channel 10, the Israeli Civil Service Commission is investigating whether Yossi Cohen had received seven tickets valued at thousands of shekels from James Packer to Mariah Carey’s 2015 Israeli concert. Cohen, now the head of Mossad, then was in charge of the National Security Council. Carey’s concert came a couple of months after she first visited Israel in the summer of 2015 with Packer, in what was described as a “pre-engagement” meeting with an unnamed “spiritual leader.” The couple, neither of whom are Jewish, became engaged in January of 2016; the engagement was called off in October.
According to the Channel 10 reports, police are investigating whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, received gifts from Packer, including stays with Packer in Tel Aviv, New York, and Aspen. Packer reportedly has sought legal residency in Israel. He has joined the prime minister at meetings at the United Nations and with the Israeli ambassador to Washington.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has denied that anything inappropriate has occurred, and has lashed out at Channel 10 and Haaretz for its reporting.