‘Netanyahu is a media control freak’ says ex-aide during trial

“Handling the Netanyahu family was part of the job description,” said an aide to the former premier in court.

By World Israel News Staff

An aide to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stand to testify against his former boss on Monday, claiming that he served as a go-between between the then-premier and Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch.

“Elovitch actually gave a list and said that the number one choice for who would serve as Communications Minister was that Netanyahu would hold the position, with Tzachi Hanegbi as second choice and Yuval Steinitz third,” Hebrew language media quoted Hefetz as telling the court.

“He also said he had heard of Ofir Akunis, but did not know if it was good for him or not,” he added.

“Netanyahu is much more than a control freak,” he said. “When it came to matters of the media, he wants to know everything — right down to the remote details.”

Hefetz alleged that Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, encouraged him to take full control of media relations, out of a fear that someone outside of the family could not properly defend them from media scrutiny and criticism.

“Netanyahu’s decision to appoint himself Communications Minister was made with his wife. It was very much a family decision that only he could be Communications Minister because the idea was that if anyone else would be Communications Minister, regardless of how loyal they were, the media would go after them, and no one would be able to stand up to the media like Netanyahu.”

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Hefetz testified that generating good publicity for the former first family was a major aspect of his job. “Handling the Netanyahu family was part of the job description,” he said.

“I saw it as an essential task, because I saw that dealing with the media coverage of his family interfered greatly with Netanyahu’s ability to run the country.”

The premier prioritized staying on top of his coverage, both positive and negative, he said.

“It was unbelievable how much media coverage was important to him, consuming so much of his time. He wanted to know everything, regardless of where he was – even if he was in a security meeting, we’d be sending him notes.”

Hefetz’s testimony came as part of Case 4000, in which Netanyahu is accused of providing benefits to Bezeq mogul Elovitch in exchange for positive media coverage on the Walla News site.