Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel Attorney General allows Detroiter Partrich’s funds to pay back improper gift toward prime minister’s legal defense

Israel Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Friday that he would allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to receive a loan from Spencer Partrich, a Detroit-area real estate developer and longtime friend, to help fund his legal defense.

The Times of Israel (TOI) reported that the attorney general’s announcement of Partrich’s loan not constituting a conflict of interest followed a recommendation by State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman to approve Netanyahu’s request for funding. TOI added that the prime minister had been seeking funds from friends to help defray the costs of three criminal cases pending against him.

Partrich is perhaps best known for his ownership of the photo collection of Hungarian-born Paul Goldman. Goldman captured thousands of images of Israel, spanning from 1943 to 1961, that showed the country in its infancy. Included in Partrich’s collection is the iconic photo of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion doing a head stand on the beach in 1957 – a characterized model if it currently stands on the Tel Aviv beachfront.

Partrich has been long associated with Jewish causes in the Detroit metropolitan area, including Yeshiva Beth Yehudah and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. His name is currently on the auditorium of the Wayne State University Law School.

The Times of Israel reported that a portion of the proceeds from Partrich would go toward paying back $300,000 Netanyahu received from American businessman Nathan Milikowsky, which the Permits Committee of the State Comptroller’s Office said he must return.

The attorney general had previously announced that he intended to indict Netanyahu in the above-referenced cases.

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