Mariah Carey Stirs Controversy in Israel

Mariah Carey Serious - Getty - H 2017
Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Mariah Carey Serious - Getty - H 2017

The pop star is at the center of a media storm after fielding questions about former fiancée James Packer's link to a corruption investigation involving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Arriving Monday afternoon in Tel Aviv to promote a new partnership with local skincare line Premier Dead Sea Cosmetics, Mariah Carey presided over a press conference followed by select TV interviews where the topic soon turned to the pop star’s ex-fiancé, Australian billionaire James Packer.

Packer is a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, having been introduced to him by New Regency’s Arnon Milchan, and has been wanted since March by Israeli police for questioning as part of an ongoing investigation regarding alleged corruption and illegal gift giving to Netanyahu by several wealthy businessmen.

“I don’t know where the motherfer is,” Carey laughingly said in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 News when asked about Packer’s whereabouts. “How am I supposed to know? I don’t know, for real. I really have no idea about the political stuff that goes on, I don’t pay attention to it.”

The couple broke off their engagement in October.

Israel’s Channel 10 reported in November that Packer allegedly gifted Netanyahu’s son Yair luxurious holidays around the world and use of his private jet, implying those were also extended to the prime minister and his wife Sara. The report also claimed that Packer gave Sara Netanyahu and Yossi Cohen, the head of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, tickets to Carey’s concert in Israel that took place in August 2015, several weeks after the then-dating Packer and Carey visited the country together and had a private dinner with the Netanyahus.

Despite rumors Carey might be summoned for questions in the investigation while in Israel, sources say local police are not looking to question her in the case.

“Oh, now they want to blame me? Someone wants to blame me for something now? What did I do? I didn’t do anything,” said Carey while speaking with local entertainment show Erev Tov in a short interview that was abruptly shut down by publicists. “Honestly I feel bad about that if that happened to anybody, I don’t want anyone to have any kind of bad issues for themselves and I’m just trying to be, trying to do me, and that’s it. That’s all I can do, is be responsible for my own self.”

The media storm has reportedly angered Carey, and a special reception scheduled for Tuesday evening has been canceled. She is expected to stay in Israel for the next few days to fulfill contractual commitments to the cosmetics brand.