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Netanyahu was ‘jumping out of skin’ to help Bezeq

CM 13/04/2021

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The public corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday brought together the past and the present regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

Testifying for the fifth day before the Jerusalem District Court, former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua spoke about an intervention by Netanyahu aide Nir Hefetz demanding that Walla post an article about minister Tzachi Hanegbi saying that Israel would not be obligated to respect the Obama administration’s Iran deal.
The article and the texts date back to July 6, 2015, with the deal signed a week later on July 14.
Yeshua’s testimony and his text messages with Bezeq and Walla owner Shaul Elovitch depict the heavy involvement of Netanyahu and his messengers in running aspects of Walla’s website, as well as the prime minister helping Bezeq with regulatory issues.
Media bribery for regulatory help is the underlying theory of Case 4000, the “Bezeq-Walla Affair.”
In the text messages, Elovitch writes to Yeshua, “The big one [Netanyahu] surprises me positively every day on the most important issues. We need to find a way to compensate him.”
Yeshua responded, “At the end of the day, we are providing what was requested, but we can improve.”

Next, Elovitch wrote, “He is entitled to it. I do not like to be in someone’s debt. He has really taken care of and completely changed the old way of doing things” when the policy was to pressure Bezeq into reforms.
Elovitch continued: “What is frustrating is that the big one [Netanyahu] is jumping out of his skin to help, and we cannot [fully] compensate him because of a group [of Walla journalists] that is worthless [for resisting pro-Netanyahu orders].”
Yeshua said that, “at the end of the day, we are fine, it leads to a cost in blood… we can do more, but we need to build a completely different apparatus, not [reporter] Dubik [Dov Gil Har] and not [chief editor] Avi [Alkalai].”Elovitch’s lawyer Jacques Chen made an extensive objection to the line of questioning and presentation of the prosecution.He said that a November 20, 2018 statement by Yeshua to the police made no connection between the favorable media coverage, which he was involved in, and the regulatory issues between the communications ministry and Bezeq, where he was not involved.Essentially they were returning to a constant argument they have made it out that Yeshua and the prosecution have been “fixing” and improving his police testimony while testifying in court.Judges Rivkah Friedman-Feldman and Moshe Bar Am told Chen he needed to wait with such claims until it is his turn to cross-examine Yeshua, as well as through his closing arguments at the end of the trial.Prosecutor Yehudit Tirosh jumped in objecting that the defense framed her presentation as misleading or contradictory.The judges told Tirosh she should also move on to the next issue and that she would be able to respond in her own closing statement.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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