Court Deals Blow to Case Against Netanyahu


Former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in his trial, at the District Court in Yerushalayim on Tuesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Yerushalayim District Court dealt an apparent severe blow to the prosecution and its case against former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday when it ruled that the indictment would not be changed.

Following testimonies given in the case and various details that did not align with the indictment against Netanyahu alleging bribery and breach of trust, the prosecution requested to amend it, and the court rejected their claim. The court said that no new evidence or change of circumstances was found to justify amending the indictment.

The ruling was given in Case 4000, which alleges that Shaul Elovitch, former owner of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq and of the Walla! news portal, pressured his CEO, Ilan Yeshua, to arrange positive coverage of Netanyahu on Walla! in exchange for the prime minister advancing regulations that would benefit Elovitch.

The regulatory benefits were worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Bezeq, of which Elovitch was a major shareholder at the time.

This latest ruling punches another hole in Case 4000, the prosecution’s main case against Netanyahu. The court still leaves open the possibility of convicting Netanyahu and Elovitch, but this is significantly more difficult now.

Netanyahu also faces charges in Case 1000, which involves expensive gifts that he allegedly received from wealthy supporters, particularly from Israeli-born movie producer Arnon Milchan, possibly in return for favors.

Case 2000 alleges bribery between Netanyahu and Yediot Acharonot owner Arnon Mozes. Netanyahu supposedly offered to use his power to hinder the influence of Yediot’s main rival, Yisrael Hayom, through legislation that would minimize Yisrael Hayom’s distribution, in return for Yediot’s reduction of negative coverage of Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and his supporters have called the allegations a witch hunt by a “hostile media” against him and his family and have accused the judicial system of attempting to unseat a prime minister in an undemocratic process.

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