ARCHIVE – Yair Lapid with incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 7 November 2014 (Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem via Flash90)
Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid is under scrutiny as his associate, high-tech entrepreneur, Hillel Kobrinsky, was exposed by Channel 13 for playing a key role in convincing Israeli ministers to accept the maritime agreement with Lebanon.
The channel revealed that Kobrinsky might have had a conflict of interest, considering his sister is a senior at Energean, the company responsible for extracting gas from Karish.
The report concludes that a delay in reaching the deal, or the failure to do so, would have led to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for Energean, putting Kobrinsky’s sister and Energean’s Israeli subsidiary at risk of bankruptcy.
In light of this information, a law-advocate organization contacted the legal advisor to the government, Gali Baharav-Miara, demanding to examine the suspicious activities within Lapid’s administration.
The Ministry of Justice issued a statement confirming they have received the complaint, stating that it will be reviewed.
Earlier on 31 October, incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “neutralize” the maritime border agreement with Lebanon as part of his election campaign against Lapid.
According to The Times of Israel, Netanyahu promised to nullify the agreement, stating that he “will behave as did with the Oslo Accords,” adding that agreements with the Palestinians “were not canceled, they were neutralized.”
Netanyahu officially rejected the maritime border agreement with Lebanon and accused outgoing prime minister Yair Lapid of surrendering to Hezbollah and forfeiting Israel’s territory for free.
“This is not a historic agreement but a historic surrender,” Netanyahu said via his Facebook social network profile.
Nonetheless, the threats made by Netanyahu might not materialize as the agreement was not Lapid’s decision alone. The agreement was supported by a general consensus between the heads of Israel’s security, which assessed the pros and cons of the maritime deal.
Additionally, the agreement has been supported by the Israeli supreme court, deeming it of utmost importance to Israeli national security and stability.
In late October, Israel’s Chief Justice Esther Hayut dismissed four petitions to block the agreement, submitted by legal organizations and politicians close to Netanyahu.
Hayut supported the agreement and announced Lapid’s government had all the legal jurisdiction to finalize the agreement and did not need support from the Knesset, or wait for the elections.