Political Wife Duped by Israeli Press

By Nathan Burstein

Published March 03, 2010, issue of March 12, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The wife of Israel’s own defense minister has been duped by a man in disguise.

Nili Priel, wife of Ehud Barak, unwittingly opened their home to a stranger who had assumed a fake identity, leading to a pre-Purim flood of publicity. Ari Libsker, a reporter for the Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist, posed as a house-hunting Jewish billionaire from Croatia to gain access to Barak’s residence, a luxury apartment in Tel Aviv. Invited by a real-estate agent to view the apartment, Libsker declined to provide an identity card of his alias, Yaakov Natovitz, claiming concern for his privacy. The writer nevertheless received a guided tour of the apartment from Priel, and had entered the home without undergoing a security check. “I could have gone up to the apartment with a knife, handgun or explosive,” Libsker wrote in an article February 25.

While the security breach dominated much of the news coverage, Priel also earned attention for her comments about the apartment, which the couple hopes to sell for more than 30 million shekels (roughly $8 million). The residence has been a political liability for her husband, a former prime minister and the head of Israel’s Labor Party, especially during the country’s 2009 elections. “There’s still a socialist mentality here,” Priel lamented to Libsker.

The incident may be particularly embarrassing for Barak, himself a former master of disguise. During his days in the military, the former commando once dressed as a woman for a mission in Lebanon, wearing a wig and high heels in a confrontation with the Palestine Liberation Organization.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.