08/27/2012 14:25–Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has backtracked on a request to make changes to his foreign and domestic investment portfolio, saying he wants to avoid fueling rumors about a potential strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
A special committee in the State Comptroller’s Office’s approved the prime minister’s request on August 15. In its decision, it stated that given the volatility of the global and Israeli economies, “there is a need to allow additional instructions to be made to the trustee of [Netanyahu’s] blind trust.”
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu notified the State Comptroller several days later that he would not bring the matter to the current government for approval, “in order to avoid a misinterpretation.”
The Committee for Granting Permits was formed following the Second Lebanon War, when then-IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz was accused of insider trading for liquidating his investment portfolio just two hours after Hezbollah gunmen kidnapped two soldiers along the northern border.
Halutz’s portfolio was valued at approximately NIS 120,000. It would have suffered losses with the rest of the TA-25 index, which dropped 8.3 percent in the week following the outbreak of hostilities.
Ministers and their immediate family members are required to place their assets in a blind trust for the duration of their term in government in order to prevent conflicts of interest.
Although Netanyahu backed down from the request, Opposition Leader Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) and Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich both accused the prime minister of improprieties on Monday.
Mofaz called the request “a strange step that reveals more than a hint about the prime minister’s intentions.” According to Mofaz, Netanyahu’s behavior shows that he is aware of the danger to citizens’ security and the national economy from an “unnecessary and unwise” decision by Israel to unilaterally attack Iran…Read More>>