Report: PM Accused of Breach of Trust, Not Bribery, in Yediot Case

israel attorney general
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Pending a decision by the High Court on a last-minute petition to prevent him from announcing his decisions on whether or not Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should be indicted in any of the corruption investigations against him, State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit will recommend that Netanyahu be charged with breach of trust in Case 2000, an alleged deal in which Yediot Acharonot publisher Arnon Mozes offered the prime minister better coverage in his newspaper in return for help in passing legislation against his newspaper’s competition. No indictments will be issued until Netanyahu has an official hearing with the State Attorney and Justice Ministry officials.

According to Kan News, Netanyahu is not guilty of accepting a bribe in the case, as he did not accede to the deal allegedly offered by Mozes. However, Mandelblit believes that Netanyahu should have walked out on the conversation with Mozes as soon as the offer was made, which the prime minister did not do – thus the “breach of trust.” Mozes will be charged with bribery in the case, the report said.

In its petition Thursday, the Likud is seeking an injunction against any announcements by Mandelblit on his decisions. The petition says that the announcements made at this time, in the midst of the election campaign, “has never been done in Israeli politics” and would damage the prime minister’s reputation, casting aspersions upon him before even a pre-indictment hearing could take place.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu is accused of conspiring with Yediot Acharonot publisher Arnon Mozes to shut down Yisrael Hayom. The two, according to police, held numerous discussions about the matter, with the prime minister and Mozes both “taking specific steps” to advance the quid pro quo deal of better coverage for Netanyahu in Yediot Acharonot in exchange for acting against Yisrael Hayom.

Although a law to ban Yisrael Hayom never reached the Knesset for a vote, Netanyahu is accused of asking Yisrael Hayom’s publishers to limit distribution of the paper on Fridays, in order to benefit Yediot Acharonot. Netanyahu has called the accusations “nonsense,” pointing to the many negative and critical articles against him in Yediot Acharonot. According to the report, Netanyahu has been most concerned over Case 2000, because of recordings that exist document conversations he had with Mozes.