Jerusalem — Benjamin Netanyahu dropped out of sight for most of a day this week, a mysterious absence that has set off feverish speculation about what the Israeli leader was up to — and accusations he lied to cover up a clandestine trip to Moscow.
After initially issuing a vague statement about visiting a top-secret Mossad installation inside Israel, Netanyahu kept silent Thursday as reports emerged that he flew to Moscow aboard a private jet for urgent talks on Iran.
According to various accounts, the Israeli prime minister was either pushing the Russians to halt arms sales to Iran, or warning of an impending strike against Iranian nuclear facilities or discussing the recent disappearance of a Russian-crewed freighter.
A shifting story line from Netanyahu’s office and then silence have enraged the local media, which branded the prime minister a liar and painted his office as a chaotic scene of rivalries and disarray.
“Anarchy, turf wars and lies,” screamed a headline Thursday in the Haaretz daily.