Israeli Prosecutors Amend Charges Against Netanyahu

Published: 04 January 2021

Benjamin NetanyahuIsraeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, faces amended accusations. (Photo: U.S. Department of State)

By Zdravko Ljubas

Prosecutors in Jerusalem on Sunday amended charges against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, revealing more details about one of the corruption cases against the controversial politician.

In what is known as Case 4000, prosecutors of the Jerusalem District Court accused Netanyahu of assisting businessman Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder in telecom giant Bezeq, with US$280 million and listed more than 300 incidents in which the Prime Minister had allegedly pushed for regulatory decisions in favor of the media mogul in exchange for positive coverage by one of Elovitch’s news websites called Walla.

Responding to Netanyahu’s lawyers, who asked for more details, prosecutors said that there had been 315 cases in which Walla was allegedly asked to be gentle to Netanyahu and his family in its reports.

The Prime Minister, according to the prosecutors, was allegedly personally involved in about 150 of those urgings.

In some cases Netanyahu asked the news outlet to positively promote his wife Sara and hide her and family’s spendings and in other cases he asked for unfavorable reports to be made about families of his political rivals, according to prosecutors.

Netanyahu described the prosecution’s allegations as propaganda, noting that they made the “Case 4000 balloon burst.”

He wrote on his Facebook wall that it was obvious the prosecutors only wanted to “sew a case for a strong right-wing prime minister.”

Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit charged Netanyahu in November 2019 with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The charges were based on police allegations that he granted state favors worth hundreds of millions of dollars to an Israeli media mogul in return for gifts and favorable coverage.