The European Union has imposed sanctions against Abdelbasit Hamza, whose business activities in Spain, Egypt and Cypriot banks were uncovered in an international investigation conducted by Shomrim, CNN and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). This is the first time that the Europeans have taken such measures against an individual with links to Hamas. Washington is also looking into Hamza’s financial activities and offered a financial prize to anyone coming forward with information.
Netanyahu’s point man for the Israelis missing and captive in Gaza, Gal Hirsch, is on trial for multi million-shekel tax evasion. His main defense is that he did not own the company that received money from a deal with the Georgian government. Documents uncovered by Shomrim show that while the owner of the company is not mentioned by name, Hirsch was given almost unlimited power of attorney to run it as he saw fit. His lawyers refused to respond, saying that the issue will soon be settled in court. This investigation is also published in Calcalist
The Mivne Group claimed on its Facebook page that it ‘donated’ an alternative building for the Israel Police in Sderot, after the station there was destroyed in fighting with Hamas. Last week, the police were granted emergency funding of 8.4 million shekels ($2.1 million) to rent the building for three years – which appears to be higher than the average rent in the area. The Finance Ministry insists that it’s a reasonable price. A Shomrim exposé
A 2021 revelation exposes a $12 million donation from U.S. billionaire Arthur Danchik's philanthropic foundation to an ostensibly 'research institution,' which subsequently routed funds to the Central Fund of Israel. This fund supports various charities and associations in Israel. The Kohelet Policy Forum, instrumental in driving the Netanyahu government's judicial overhaul, recorded a single donation that year—attributed to the Central Fund of Israel. Both Danchik and Kohelet have refrained from providing responses. A collaborative investigation by Shomrim and TheMarker.
Facing a projected 60% decline in immigration from Western countries due to judicial changes, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration proposes a solution: Providing 150,000 shekels ($40,000) to Shavei Hevron yeshiva for a parade involving French Jews.
Amidst the ongoing demonstrations against the government’s proposed judicial reforms, the Israel Police has initiated efforts to acquire a substantial quantity of riot-control weapons. The procurement requests include a significant increase in batons, tactical gloves, goggles, fencing, and sponge grenades. The motives behind the extensive acquisitions remain undisclosed by the police department.
Four years after he was first elected to the Knesset and more than six months into his tenure as economy minister, Nir Barkat hasn't divested from his business portfolio – which includes holdings in many different companies operating in Israel. He once claimed that his interests are in a blind trust controlled by his brother, but the rules do not permit ministers to use first-degree relatives as trust-holders. A former deputy attorney general says: ‘Barkat must sell or get a conditional permit to keep his holdings.’ Barkat refused to respond. After publication of this article, his office said: ‘Barkat does what is required of him by law.’ A Shomrim investigation, also published in Calcalist
The first ThyssenKrupp submarines that were delivered to Israel came with periscopes that did not meet the Navy’s operational demands and were upgraded at huge expense. The Defense Ministry decided that the upgrade would be carried out by the manufacturer of the substandard periscopes, which was paid from the military aid that Israel receives from the United States – and not from the ministry’s procurement budget. The Navy, it seems, did not like the idea and just before the manufacture of the next batch of submarines, it advised a competing company how to improve its offer to the Defense Ministry by adding an Israeli “strategic partner.” The IDF and the Defense Ministry declined to comment. A Shomrim investigation. Published also in “The Times of Israel”
Ministers are supposed to submit the preliminary conflict-of-interest questionnaire, on which their final agreement is based, within 30 days of taking office. Only 9 of the current 32 ministers have done so, and none have completed and published their final agreements. In comparison, two months after the previous government was sworn in, seven ministers had filed final agreements. A Shomrim investigation
Arthur Dantchik and Jeff Yass have been revealed to be the main American funders of the Kohelet Policy Forum, with which Barkat has a very cozy and close relationship. In 2021 one of their companies invested in eToro, in which Barkat has shares. Barkat in response: Your attempt to intimidate elected officials from cooperating with Kohelet will not succeed. A Shomrim/TheMarker investigation
An international investigation by ICIJ, ProPublica, and 45 media outlets including Shomrim as the Israeli partner, exposes how the Lebanese terror organization used honorary consuls to fund its activity.
After years of neglect by Israeli decision-makers, the outgoing government launched a first-ever initiative aimed at tackling the growing rift between the State of Israel and progressive Jews in the United States. Supporters of the project - revealed here for the first time - say that its importance lies in the fact that, for the first time, Israel will be officially cooperating with Conservative and Reform communities. Its detractors argue that it does not address key issues that are worrisome for its intended audience. Either way, the projects’ survival under the new government is at risk. A Shomrim exclusive
Six months ago, Shomrim revealed that the police’s Occupational Health Unit found that the severe air pollution at the Atarot industrial zone was endangering the health of officers serving nearby. Now, following a petition filed by the owner of an adjacent shopping mall seeking the closure of a sewage treatment plant, it turns out that a senior official from Jerusalem Municipality described the whole area as “a garbage dump” and that the Ministry of Environmental Protection has already sought to rescind the plant’s operating license – before changing its mind. The company’s response: We were there first. A Shomrim follow-up
The Volcani Center, located in the central Israeli city of Rishon Letzion, accumulated a large quantity of radioactive waste over a period of up to 15 years – hazardous material that should, by law, have been disposed of at the Negev Nuclear Research Center. Some of the waste comes from the phosphorus-32 isotope, which can lead to severe health problems. After an inspection by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Volcani Center was ordered to dispose of the waste at once – a process that took another four months. A Shomrim exposé
Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO was added to the blacklist after a series of investigations revealed that it's Pegasus spyware had been against journalists and human rights activists. Sources familiar with the case say that Israel has officially decided to intervene in the matter – partly because of concern that other companies offering offensive cyber tools could be blacklisted, harming the entire industry. The State Department recently confirmed for the first time to Shomrim that there has been contact with Israel on the issue. The Prime Minister’s Office refused to respond
When a criminal investigation against Uber in Israel was launched, the company got nervous. “(I) don’t want our guys getting put in jail,” one senior Uber official wrote. He then detailed how the company should handle the situation: Hire someone to make phone calls at the highest level to persuade them to “calm the fuck down.” A former US Ambassador was hired. He contacted the US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, and the Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer. According to leaked emails, they were sympathetic to the company’s cause and expressed willingness to help. Dermer in response: Israeli officials listen to the arguments of American companies even if they have no intention of changing policy or using their influence. A Shomrim investigation
Seven heads of state and 20 ministers in various governments across the world met with representatives of Uber during the period covered by the leak. This did not happen organically: the company hired a lengthy list of lobbyists – including former advisors to President Obama, ex-ambassadors, and people with close ties in government circles. When political contacts alone were not enough to prevent investigations from being launched, the company set up an emergency procedure for destroying documents that could be of interest to authorities
A massive leak of documents has revealed the extent to which Uber used connections, pressure, and lobbyists as part of its efforts to penetrate the Israeli market. A Shomrim investigation shows how the company managed to get as far up as then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, according to the leaks, promised to “break the resistance” of the transportation minister. According to the documents, Eli Groner, the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, told the company what messages would win over the Israeli public, when to go to the media and repeatedly reminded Uber that “it’s important that the prime minister looks good.” On a separate occasion, he asked that any future communication be sent to his private email address, not his government one. Netanyahu, Groner and Katz did not respond
The bill sought to regulate the company’s operations in Israel and was last submitted to the Israeli parliament for approval eight months ago. It was tabled by Knesset members from several different parties. A Shomrim investigation
Air pollution near the Atarot base, north of Jerusalem, exceeds the Israeli limit – which is considered extremely lax – by 288 percent. Sometimes, it reaches 1,000 percent over the limit. The Israel Police’s Occupational Health and Safety Unit want the base evacuated, but, in the meantime, the police will make do with constant monitoring. The police response: “We’ve set up a committee.”
A massive leak from one of the world's biggest private banks has revealed that one of the key figures in the so-called submarine affair, Mickey Ganor, held an account that, at one time, had a balance of $687,000. It appears that this account was not part of the police investigation and is not mentioned in the indictment against him. Ganor's lawyers declined to respond. The account's existence was revealed as part of SuisseSecrets, an international project spearheaded by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. Some 50 media outlets examined the documents leaked from the famously secretive bank. Shomrim's Uri Blau was the Israeli representative to the project.
Investigations by Shomrim, based on the Pandora Papers, uncover MK Nir Barkat’s holdings in the Virgin Islands and the questions surrounding the blind trust he signed; the massive debt that a company owned by Haim Ramon took on from old friend Martin Schlaff; and the Steinmetz family’s interest, while facing legal cases, in transferring 1 billion euros to the Cook Islands