MK Eitan Cabel said in a statement over the weekend that he welcomed the police inquiry into his activities, including an investigation into whether he had involved Yediot Achronot publisher Arnon Mozes in drafting a law to ban the free Yisrael Hayom newspaper. “I chose public service as a way of life,” he wrote on social media . “I have been receiving loads of support, and I also must accept the less pleasant aspects of that life. I continue to hold true to the values I espouse, including when they affect me personally.”
According to a report in Ha’aretz, Cabel, who authored the law that would ban free newspapers that publish on a daily basis, consulted with Mozes on the drafts of the law he presented to the Knesset. Cabel was questioned on the matter last week, and according to Yisrael Hayom police presented him with a long list of text messages and conversations he had with Mozes in which the two discussed ways to shut down the newspaper.
The involvement of Cabel in the matter could be a turning point in one of the corruption investigations in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is involved. Case 2000 involves the relationship between the Prime Minister and Mozes, who is alleged to have initiated a relationship with Netanyahu in order to get him to lean on Yisrael Hayom, his paper’s arch-rival, to limit its distribution. Netanyahu has often complained of the extremely negative coverage of him in Yediot, and Mozes’s staff has accused Yisrael Hayom of being Netanyahu’s “pet poodle” for its positive coverage of the Prime Minister. Mozes allegedly offered Netanyahu a deal – he would ease the negative coverage against the Prime Minister, if Netanyahu would somehow “restrain” Yisrael Hayom, the free daily newspaper which has cannibalized Yediot’s sales for years.
Netanyahu has numerous times denied any wrongdoing, saying in a statement that he could report with “full confidence that there will be nothing because there is nothing. The only thing going on is the unceasing pressure of the media on law enforcement.” According to Yisrael Hayom, Netanyahu, suspecting that something was up, recorded all his conversations with Mozes, and police have heard these recordings and determined that there is no basis for the allegations against Netanyahu. On the other hand, Cabel could be up for corruption charges if it is proven that he collaborated secretly on the law with Mozes.
In his comments, Cabel said that he “had no doubt the prosector’s office, the State Attorney, and the Israel Police are doing important work in a determined manner. I have never allowed political figures to besmirch the name of law enforcement and I will not allow that now. We have no other police and no other prosectors. I back them and trust them fully.”