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Prosecution flops: Hefetz testifies Netanyahu never believed he bribed

CM 23/11/2021


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Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not believe he had committed media bribery at the time, star witness Nir Hefetz told the Jerusalem District Court in a stunning flop for the state prosecution which could prove decisive later when the verdict comes down.
Hefetz was describing a 2015 article in Haaretz which first portrayed the basic outlines of what later became known as Case 4000 the Bezeq-Walla Affair.
He said that when he first spoke about the article with Netanyahu that the former prime minister dismissed the characterization of bribery as “they are chasing after me.”

In a profound moment, Hefetz then turned to the judges and slowly said, ” and there is no doubt in my mind that this was his authentic reaction,” noting that Netanyahu had been criminally probed in the 1990s.
So damaging was Hefetz’s statement that the prosecution intervened to advise the court that Hefetz was just giving his own estimate about Netanyahu, trying to downplay that its star witness essentially just said that Netanyahu had no criminal intent.
Nir Hefetz, the star prosecution witness and former top aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, on Tuesday testified to the Jerusalem District Court that he was acting under direct instructions from the former prime minister when he intervened with Walla’s media coverage.
The former top Netanyahu aide is considered critical for proving media bribery against the former prime minister in the Case 4000 Bezeq-Walla Affair because he interacted directly with Netanyahu on both the media coverage and communications policy fronts.
According to the indictment, the premise of Case 4000 was Netanyahu gave favorable communications policy treatment to Shaul Elovitch’s Bezeq in exchange for control over news coverage of Walla, also owned by Elovitch.
Hefetz said that Netanyahu had “full” (spelling out the letters of the word “mi-leh-ah” or “full” in Hebrew letter by letter for emphasis) control of all interactions with the media, especially Walla.
Netanyahu’s former top aide said that the former prime minister especially had time on weekends when he would spend more time going over specific news items in detail with his wife, Sarah, and grown-up son, Yair.
Following these Netanyahu family sessions, Hefetz said he would receive calls with instructions about what orders to give Walla about their coverage from a mix of the prime minister and the other two family members on speaker phone, but that the prime minister was always on the call.
At some point, Sarah and Yair even attempted to take greater direct control of media issues relating to them, but Hefetz said that the former prime minister pushed back and maintained direct control and interactions with his top aide even on these issues.

Nir Hefetz, a former associate of Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu and state witness in Case 4000 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)Nir Hefetz, a former associate of Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu and state witness in Case 4000 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

The only exception, noted Hefetz, was entirely positive color stories about Sarah which were completely uncontroversial.
Filling in the picture of a statement he made during Monday’s testimony, Hefetz explained why he said that Netanyahu worked constantly on media issues, including Walla, even demanding being interrupted during security meetings.
The background was that “there were one or two incidents where I acted independently” thinking that Netanyahu was in an important policy meeting where he would not want to be interrupted for mere media matters.
Yet, afterward Netanyahu gave him direct orders that he had acted incorrectly and should always interrupt him regarding media issues no matter what meeting he was involved in and how serious the issue.
In a highly controversial moment, Hefetz revealed that many of his direct discussions with Netanyahu about media issues included one of the defense lawyers currently in the courtroom (likely Amit Hadad.)
Both this moment and several moments where the state prosecution sought to “refresh the memory” of Hefetz, who frequently forgets what he told police when interrogated, led to an unprecedented blow up between the prosecution and defense lawyers.
The conflagration went on and off for nearly an hour, completely disrupting the flow of Hefetz’s testimony until the judges lost patience with the defense and told them to hold their counter arguments for when they cross-examine Hefetz.
Next, Hefetz connected the Walla media part of the bribery scheme to the regulatory Bezeq part of the scheme.
Hefetz said that, “I always spoke first to Benjamin Netanyahu and Sara Netanyahu before speaking to Shlomo Filber” to give him directives about giving favorable treatment to Bezeq.
He made it clear that “I have no expertise, I cannot give him directives without them,” meaning that Hefetz did not feel comfortable in the world of telling Filber how to handle Communications Ministry policy.
In other words, when Hefetz told Filber how to please Bezeq it was only after he was given direct orders from the former prime minister.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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