comscore Israeli prosecutors spell out allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Israeli prosecutors spell out allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / DEC. 22
                                Israeli prosecutors today released an amended indictment spelling out detailed charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a corruption case in which he is accused of trading favors with a powerful media mogul.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS / DEC. 22

    Israeli prosecutors today released an amended indictment spelling out detailed charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a corruption case in which he is accused of trading favors with a powerful media mogul.

JERUSALEM >> Israeli prosecutors today released an amended indictment spelling out detailed charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a corruption case in which he is accused of trading favors with a powerful media mogul.

Netanyahu has been charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three corruption cases. One of them alleges that Netanyahu promoted regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the owner of the Bezeq telecom company in exchange for positive coverage on its popular Walla news site.

In response to a request from Netanyahu’s lawyers for more details, Israeli prosecutors released a letter today alleging there had been 315 incidents of Walla being requested to make its coverage more favorable for Netanyahu and his family. They said there were indications that Netanyahu was personally involved in 150 of those incidents.

It said the requests included giving more time or prominence to positive articles about Netanyahu and his family, changing headlines and lowering or even removing unfavorable stories. It also included alleged requests for negative coverage of Netanyahu’s rivals.

The document listed all 315 suspected incidents, which allegedly included numerous requests to publish flattering articles and photos of Netanyahu’s wife Sara, to conceal reports of embarrassing expenditures and personal information about the Netanyahu family and attempts to embarrass his rivals. It quoted Bezeq’s controlling shareholder at the time, Shaul Elovitch, as expressing concerns that Netanyahu would not approve lucrative business deals for the company if negative articles were published.

On Jan. 17-19, 2013, for instance, it said a Netanyahu associate persuaded Elovitch to publish stories saying that the wife of Naftali Bennett, head of a rival religious party, worked in a non-kosher restaurant.

Several weeks later, Netanyahu, through the same associate, allegedly pressed Walla to remove critical articles about a lacy dress his wife had worn to the swearing-in of the new parliament and replace it with favorable reviews. The site consented to both requests, it said.

On another occasion, Elovitch, at Netanyahu’s request, allegedly ordered Walla to halt a live broadcast of a rally by Netanyahu’s opponents during the country’s 2015 election campaign.

Netanyahu’s trial began last year and is scheduled to resume next month. He denies all charges against him, saying he is the victim of a witch hunt orchestrated by a hostile media, police and prosecutors.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (4)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up