Netanyahu will appear in court to face corruption charges

February 8, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to appear in the Jerusalem District Court today to face charges against him in Cases 1000, 2000 and 4000.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Dec. 29, 2019. Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Netanyahu is expected to plead not guilty to all charges.

The hearing will begin with an oral statement from each of the defendants, Netanyahu, the Elovitch couple and Arnon Mozes, on how they are responding to the charges against them, following the written answers their lawyers sent to the court last month.

Due to the Coronavirus constraints, the hearing will take place in the new and larger courtroom. The number of representatives of each defendant is limited, the journalists are expected to sit in another room when what happens in the courtroom will be broadcast to them on CCTV.

Netanyahu has asked his supporters not to arrive at the court and not to congregate.

The first case, Case 1000, involves expensive gifts that Netanyahu allegedly received from wealthy supporters, particularly from Israeli-born movie producer Arnon Milchan, possibly in return for favors.

Case 2000 alleges bribery between Netanyahu and Yedioth Aharonoth owner Arnon Mozes. Netanyahu supposedly offered to use his power to hinder the influence of Yedioth’s main rival, Israel Hayom, through legislation that would minimize Israel Hayom’s distribution, in return for Yedioth’s reduction of negative coverage of Netanyahu.

Case 4000 alleges that Shaul Elovitch, former owner of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq and 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 regulatory benefits were worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Bezeq, of which Elovitch was a major shareholder at the time.

The trial is expected to last for years.

Netanyahu, the first sitting prime minister in Israel’s history to be tried, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and his supporters have called the allegations a witch hunt by a “hostile media” against him and his family and have accused the judicial system of attempting to unseat a prime minister in an undemocratic process.

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