Friday, May 24, 2024

Missile Proof Billionaire’s Bunker: Where Netanyahu Hid During the Iran Attack

HomeWARMissile Proof Billionaire's Bunker: Where Netanyahu Hid During the Iran Attack

As tensions with Iran reached a boiling point following Tehran’s unprecedented missile and drone strikes against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family took refuge this weekend in a heavily fortified private residence owned by a billionaire supporter.

According to Israeli media reports, Netanyahu, his wife Sara, and their children spent time hunkered down at the “missile-proof” villa in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood belonging to Simon Falic, a Jewish-American businessman with close ties to the Israeli leader’s inner circle.

The Netanyahus had reportedly been using Falic’s Jerusalem property, which is believed to include a reinforced bunker, as a safe haven even before Iran launched over 200 missiles and drones at Israeli cities in a retaliatory attack on Saturday. The family previously sought shelter at the residence last October when hostilities with Iran first escalated into open conflict.

Falic, a co-owner of the Miami-based duty-free retail empire Falic Group, has longstanding financial ties to Netanyahu’s supporter base. His billionaire family are among the prime minister’s largest American donors and have contributed millions to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, as well as groups advocating for building a Third Temple in Jerusalem’s Old City.

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While the intensifying conflict has seen the Netanyahu family take extraordinary security precautions, their choice of Falic’s fortified home highlights the murky links between the prime minister’s office and wealthy foreign patrons accused of undue influence.

In 2021, Falic and his family were caught up in a scandal in which Netanyahu was investigated over allegations of improperly accepting undisclosed donations to fund his overseas travels and personal expenses while in office. Though no charges were ultimately brought, the case underscored long-running accusations of improper conduct by Netanyahu and his inner circle.

Beyond the Falic connection, Netanyahu’s own son Yair – who currently resides in Miami – has also raised eyebrows by living in an apartment owned by another deep-pocketed Netanyahu backer, according to Israeli media investigations. The younger Netanyahu has cultivated his own circle of wealthy foreign associates, some of whom were implicated in previous scandals involving his father’s administration.

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For now, however, all attention is focused on the rapidly escalating military confrontation with Iran following Tehran’s surprise barrage, which marked the Islamic Republic’s first direct assault on Israeli territory.

The strikes appeared to be direct retaliation for the deaths of seven Iranian military personnel, including a high-ranking Revolutionary Guard commander, in what Tehran claims were Israeli airstrikes targeting an Iranian diplomatic compound in Damascus earlier this month.

Iran issued explicit warnings to Israel in the strike’s aftermath, stating it “reserves the absolute right to take a decisive response” if Israeli forces conduct any further operations against Iranian targets. At the same time, Tehran also declared the matter “concluded” for now following Saturday’s unprecedented attacks.

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Israeli officials have declined to confirm or deny any role in the Damascus strike, maintaining the government’s long-standing policy of ambiguity regarding most military operations. However, the regime of President Ebrahim Raisi left no doubt that Iran holds Israel’s government directly culpable for the deaths of its personnel.

While neither side appears eager to escalate the situation further, the weekend’s violence marks a new nadir in Iranian-Israeli relations and bodes ill for hopes of easing tensions in the region’s perpetual crucible of conflict and geopolitical instability.

For Netanyahu and his family, the dash for safety at a multimillionaire benefactor’s fortified compound serves as a stark reminder of both his government’s high-stakes confrontation with Iran, as well as the ethics concerns swirling around his administration’s ties to wealthy foreign backers.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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