"The accusations deal with the meeting point between power and the desire to influence the media"

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by Ifi Reporter Category:Law Apr 5, 2021

One year and four months after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit decided to charge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, the main part of his trial, the evidentiary phase, began this morning (Monday). From now on, the trial will take place three days a week - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Netanyahu appeared in the Jerusalem District Court on Saladin Street, just a mile and a half from the president's house, where some of the faction's representatives are expected to recommend him, along with defendants Shaul and Iris Alovich and Noni Mozes.

Six and a half hours including breaks. This is the time that the first evidentiary hearing in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial in the Alpine cases took place today (Monday). At the center of today's hearing were the opening remarks of plaintiff Liat Ben-Ari, and the testimony of the first witness in the 4000 case - Ilan Yeshua. This is what the main points of the discussion looked like, which is expected to resume tomorrow morning.
The Jerusalem District Court, where the hearings are being held, has since the morning become a "fortified destination" that has been secured in an unprecedented way. Netanyahu himself arrived at the court under heavy security and with demonstrations of support and demonstrations against him down the street in the background. Homeland Security Minister Amir Ohana also came to court briefly to express support for Netanyahu, but he left to lead Likud representatives at the president's house.
The court hearing began with the opening remarks of plaintiff Liat Ben-Ari, which is common in large cases. She said everyone is equal before the law and before the court, arguing that the case brought before the judges is "a significant and serious case in the area of ​​government corruption", as she puts it.
"Defendant 1 is the Prime Minister of Israel who, according to the indictment, made improper use of the great governmental power entrusted to him, inter alia, to demand and derive improper benefits from owners of major media outlets in Israel, in order to advance his personal affairs for a long time. ", Ben Ari explained.
At the end of the statement by prosecutor Ben-Ari, the first witness in the trial, Ilan Yeshua, former CEO of Walla, testified. The coverage in favor of the Netanyahu family.
Yeshua linked the pressure exerted on him by Shaul Alovich to the fact that the latter needed regulatory decisions by the prime minister in his case. "At first it was a correct relationship," he testified. "Towards the end of 2012, his growing interest in what was happening in the news system began.
Salvation noted that in sensitive cases, the pressure became intense - as in an election period. "Sometimes Iris said to take something down because 'this week he (Netanyahu - GM) needs to sign, he needs to approve me.' It is clearly stated that there are regulatory matters and this is a 'particularly sensitive period'. "
He claimed to have received things from above - and lowered down, as he put it. "Downstairs it was a very difficult and intense dialogue with the editors." All the editors, in one word or another, told me that it was not the press, that it was madness, that we could not do such things. They did not have to explain it to me, I know alone, "he said.
Yeshua later noted that he did not speak with the prime minister and his wife, and that in one case he spoke with the prime minister's son Yair Netanyahu. "The statements were made by the various mediators," he said. "The realtors - Shaul and Iris (Elovich), Nir (Hefetz) and Ze'ev (Rubinstein) - said 'a ditch'. "Or about Uri Ariel and that is very important to him. It was clear to me that it was Netanyahu - there can be no one else."
Yeshua also described that he was asked to produce defamatory articles about Naftali Bennett, and that editor-in-chief Tali Ben Ovadia was required to be fired, since she was perceived as opposed to Netanyahu. "A dissatisfied politician seeks to correct. Here I received a full edit that day. There is no media body that is not pressured, but there is nothing to compare," said Yeshua, who claimed the unusual pressure exerted on him. In response, Iris Elovich burst out at him and shouted: "How much can you lie?".
When asked what led him to agree to the demands, he replied: "I loved the job. It was a life enterprise. I loved the company and hoped to manage it, and that it was temporary. Saul and Iris said it was a sensitive period and then it would be okay and released. "It will end forever. Sometimes you do not understand what is happening to you, like a frog in the water."
Netanyahu responded with a scathing attack on the law enforcement system, in a statement to the media he made in the afternoon. In response to plaintiff Ben-Ari's statement that "trafficking in his governmental power", he said that "the entire procedure conducted against me was an improper use of the prosecuting power of the State Attorney's Office." He claimed that the prosecution was conducting a "hunting campaign against me and my family, not an obligation," and added: "The hearing in my case was a show, an addictive game. Hopefully the trial will be conducted differently.".

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