Today, Monday, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared for the fourth time before the judges of the District Court in occupied East Jerusalem on corruption charges, as he faced a key witness witness in the trial that started since May 2020.
Netanyahu arrived at the court amid heavy security, and his former aide and former spokesman, Nir Hefetz, began to testify before the Israeli court against Netanyahu, and this is the first time that the former prime minister meets face to face with his former aide in the court arena, after the court adjourned last week. Hefetz's testimony in response to the defense team's request.
Hefetz told the court that "Netanyahu wastes no less time on the media than he spends on security issues, including matters that an outside observer might consider insignificant," adding that the former prime minister demanded updates on the quality and form of media coverage. him even during meetings about national security.
Israeli media, including the website of the Haaretz newspaper, quoted Hefetz as saying that with regard to media coverage, Netanyahu's obsession was limitless, adding that his control was absolute and complete, without exception.
The witness added that former Communications Minister Gilad Erdan was expelled from the ministry after consulting former Prime Minister Netanyahu with his wife Sarah and son Yair, explaining, "There was a clear family decision that Netanyahu is the only one who will be the communications minister."
Nir Hefetz: Netanyahu had an endless obsession with the media coverage allocated to him and was discussing it during security meetings (Reuters)
Erdan served as Minister of Communications between March 2013 and November 2014, before Netanyahu assumed the communications portfolio, in addition to his premiership.
In the past months, former journalists for the Walla news site provided testimonies about the interference of Netanyahu and his family members in the site's coverage of news related to him and his family and those opposed to them.
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At the end of 2018, Nir Hefetz became a state witness against Netanyahu in the case known in the media as File 4000, and related to the businessman Shaul Elovitch - the owner of the largest percentage of the shares of the Bezeq telecom company - ordering the Walla news website, which he owns, to give positive coverage to Netanyahu and his family, in exchange for Netanyahu's provision of privileges to Elovitch.
Netanyahu, who served as prime minister for 12 years until last June, clings to his innocence of charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud in cases focused on giving him alleged regulatory benefits to media moguls in exchange for positive press coverage and gifts.
The trial of Benjamin Netanyahu, the first prime minister in Israel to be tried for corruption while in office, is dividing the Israeli political scene. His supporters see it as a targeting from the left of a popular right-wing leader, while his critics praise it as a victory for the law over the dangerous government corruption that has brought Israel into Two years of political unrest.Keywords: