According to the prosecution’s statement, the new information is not directly connected to the testimony of state witness Nir Hefetz, a former aide of Netanyahu’s. In the wake of the announcement, Hefetz’s lawyers asked the Jerusalem District Court to postpone their client’s testimony scheduled for Tuesday.
The man who will take the witness stand in Jerusalem’s District Court on Tuesday is a refined embodiment of the Israeli power structure. Nir Hefetz was once the right-hand man of the country’s three dominant alpha males: former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes and one-time tycoon Nochi Dankner.
There’s no better indicator of the judgment and moral compass of the men who presided over the nation’s government, media and economy.
Put simply, Hefetz is expected to testify that Netanyahu gave him orders dozens of times over several years in 2013-2016 to order former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua to direct coverage the way the former prime minister wanted – and that Netanyahu gave him orders to ensure that Communications Ministry policy benefited Bezeq and Walla owner Shaul Elovitch.
There are two parts to Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla Affair.
One part is the accusation that Netanyahu got control over Walla coverage; and the other is that the then-prime minister and communications minister influenced government policy to favor Bezeq.
The connector between Walla and Bezeq was Shaul Elovitch, who owned both.
Netanyahu’s trial resumed Monday after a two-week hiatus.
Defense attorneys began cross-examining Ilan Yeshua, who testified he was pressured to skew coverage on Walla in favor of Netanyahu and his family. Yeshua linked it to the alleged expectation of the then-controlling shareholder of Bezeq telecommunications, Shaul Elovitch, to receive regulatory concessions from Netanyahu in return for the favorable coverage. Walla was owned by Bezeq at the time.
In Israel läuft seit Wochen der erste Korruptionsprozess gegen Regierungschef Benjamn Netanjahu. Der zentrale Zeuge schilderte dabei im Detail, wie ein Regierungschef versucht, sich Medien gefügig zu machen: mit dem Versprechen, dem Inhaber via Medienbehörde lukrative Vorteile zu verschaffen, und gleichzeitigen Drohungen, ständigen Interventionen zu Artikeln und enormem internem Druck – dokumentiert in Telefonaufzeichnungen und Chatverläufen, in denen Netanjahu als „der Große“ bezeichnet wird.
The testimony of former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua, who alleges that Benjamin Netanyahu sought favorable coverage in exchange for regulatory relief for Walla’s owners Bezeq, is set to continue in the third day of the prime minister’s trial, just 24 hours after President Reuven Rivlin reluctantly tasked him with forming a government.
They told him that Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu’s former media advisor, told them that an investigation had been opened and that „all of them needed to coordinate their stories.“
„They proposed that I say that I initiated everything, that it was for ideological reasons, that I didn’t want the site to be leftist,“ Yeshua said.
„They said that I needed to erase all of our correspondence,“ to which Yeshua objected, and said he told Elovitch that he was concerned that he would accidentally lose private photos. According to Yeshua, the two pressed him to delete the photos and said it critical that he did it.
At the start of the session, the prosecution told Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman that Yeshua complained before them he received threatening messages after his testimony on Monday, and that Israel Police were informed.
Friedman-Feldman told prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari that the defense should have been notified as well as the police. „We don’t want to create drama or an impression that we’re contacting the witness,“ Ben-Ari said, to which Friedman-Feldman replied that it could influence his testimony.
Yeshua, the first witness, is testifying on the claims that Walla gave favorable coverage to Netanyahu at the request of Walla owner Shaul Elovitch. The latter, who was the controlling shareholder of the telecommunications giant Bezeq, is accused of bribing the prime minister, which, according to the indictment against Netanyahu and Elovitch, he did in exchange for regulatory benefits the prime minister gave Bezeq when he was communications minister.