Netanyahu corruption trial witness: ‘Ready to sell my soul to the devil’

Iris Elovitch, wife of Bezeq and Walla owner, in a conversation said she’s “willing to sell my soul to the devil for the group.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A key witness in the corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu testified in court Tuesday that she was ready to “sell my soul to the devil,” Kan News reported.

Known as “Case 4000” or the “Bezeq-Walla Affair,” Shaul Elovitch and his wife Iris are accused of conspiring to provide positive news coverage of Netanyahu and his family on the popular Walla News website, at the time owned by Elovitch, in return for political favors from Netanyahu to push legislation favorable to the Bezeq communications company, of which Elovitch was the major shareholder.

In a recorded conversation played in court, Iris Elovitch was heard in a conversation with Walla News CEO Ilan Yeshua saying she was ready to do anything on behalf of her husband’s two companies.

“I told Shaul that for the group (Bezeq-Walla) I am ready to sell my soul to the devil,” Iris Elovitch told Yeshua.

In further conversation, the two are heard discussing how the Netanyahu family constantly checked the Walla website for news about them.

Yeshua testified about the difficulties of having to refrain from publishing negative articles about the Netanyahu family, only to be confronted later with a reaction to a negative story about them published elsewhere.

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“There was a routine that if there is an investigation into the prime minister, then do not publish,” Yeshua said. “We become absurd, that if there is a response, the response should be published, and I ask – how can a response be published without the [first] article?”

Iris Elovitch’s lawyer, Michal Rosen Ozer, asked to speak after hearing the recordings were played, pointing out that the prosecution had left out key statements from Iris Elovitch that she told Yeshua to make sure that news coverage of the Netanyahus was objective.

“It cannot be that the prosecution stops it [the recording] a moment before Iris speaks of objective headlines,” Rosen Ozer told the court. “Later in the conversation Iris says – ‘The headlines should be objective, interesting, but objective.'”

Yeshua’s testimony will end Tuesday and defense attorneys are expected to ask for several weeks to prepare for their cross-examination of Ilan Yeshua, which requires court approval, but judges are likely to approve a certain period of preparation time, Kan reported.

In a court appearance in February, Netanyahu pleaded not guilty. With mountains of evidence yet to be presented, the trial is expected to take up to three years.