Former Netanyahu aide turns state witness

Have Netanyahu’s corruption cases finally caught up with him, and should Israel prepare for elections?

By: World Israel News Staff

Nir Hefetz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former media adviser and close confidant, has turned state witness in Case 4000, which focuses on Netanyahu himself.

After over two weeks of police grilling, Hefetz agreed to become a state witness and will supposedly relay all information he possesses related to corruption allegations leveled against his former boss.

Case 4000 includes accusations that Shaul Elovitch, former owner of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq and current owner 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 regulations are worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Bezeq, of which Elovitch was, until recently, a major shareholder.

Sara Netanyahu is accused of pressuring Elovitch’s wife, Iris, regarding the news coverage.

Hefetz allegedly served as the go-between.

More than a week ago, the former director of the Communications Ministry, Shlomo Filber, also turned state witness against Netanyahu.

This follows the five-hour-long, initial interrogation of the prime minister and his wife in separate locations on Friday regarding their alleged roles in the case.

After being questioned, Netanyahu published a post on his Facebook page stating that “a moment before Shabbat begins, I’d like to tell you that I feel confident that there won’t be anything,” repeating his mantra that “there will be nothing because there is nothing.”

Last month, Israeli police recommended that Netanyahu be indicted in a pair of corruption cases.

Case 1000 alleges that Netanyahu received expensive gifts from rich supporters, particularly from Israeli-born movie mogul Arnon Milchan, possibly in return for favors.

Case 2000 involves an alleged pact between Netanyahu and Yedioth Aharonoth publisher Noni Mozes in which Netanyahu proposed to use his power to curb the influence of Yedioth’s main rival, Israel Hayom, through the passage of a law curbing Israel Hayom’s distribution, in return for Yedioth’s reduction of negative coverage of Netanyahu’s government.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and calls the allegations a witch hunt by a “hostile media” against him and his family.