(JTA) — An aide to Benjamin Netanyahu denied an Israeli lawmaker’s assertion that the prime minister had offered Hosni Mubarak asylum in Israel.
"The prime minister never offered Mubarak asylum," the aide, Roni Sofer, told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
Sofer was responding to remarks made by Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a Labor Party lawmaker, who said in a radio interview Wednesday that he had extended an offer of asylum months earlier to the ailing and embattled ex-Egyptian leader. Ben-Eliezer said he had made the offer during a visit to the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh and that he had done so with Netanyahu’s approval.
"I met [Mubarak] in Sharm el-Sheikh and I told him that it was a short distance and that it might be a good chance to heal himself," Ben-Eliezer told Israel’s Army Radio, according to Haaretz. "I am convinced that the Israel government would have accepted him, but he declined [the offer] because he was a patriot."
Mubarak, who served three decades as Egyptian president before resigning under fire in February, he went on trial Wednesday in Egypt on charges of charges related to corruption and the killing of demonstrators. Appearing in court in a hospital bed, Mubarak denied the charges.