Political Wife Duped by Israeli Press

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.

Written by

Nathan Burstein

Your Comments

The 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 Forward requires 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 and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. 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 Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Political Wife Duped by Israeli Press

Thank you!

This article has been sent!