- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting to have his corruption and breach of trust cases dismissed.
- His lawyers want Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s verbal directive voided.
- Netanyahu is alleged to have had a bribery relationship with heads of Bezeq telecom.
The Jerusalem District Court has ordered Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to submit papers indicating that he formerly made a written directive authorizing corruption investigations into Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The decree was made by the court after Netanyahu’s lawyers argued that no such injunction has ever been made.
They argue that the lack of written authorization undermines the whole process and so contend that the charges against Netanyahu should be dropped. The Attorney General has countered that there is no rule requiring that the directive to be made in written form.
The latest move comes after Netanyahu’s request to postpone the trial against him failed. He currently faces indictments related to fraud, breach of trust, and bribery.
Details of Netanyahu’s Indictments Released
Earlier this week prosecutors released details pertaining to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption charges. The move was in response to a request made by Netanyahu’s team to avail specifics about the indictments.
They reveal that the prime minister made over 300 publishing requests to the Walla media network. Some of them were made to ensure favorable coverage of him and his family.
In turn, the company’s parent group, Bezeq telecom stood to gain hundreds of millions of dollars from legislation designed to favor the company, enacted by the prime minister. Bezeq telecom was at the time owned by media tycoon, Shaul Elovitch.
Netanyahu Personally Involved
According to the documents, the prime minister was personally involved in over 150 of these requests. In some instances, he ordered unflattering coverage of his opponents and in others, influenced stories aimed at amping his political standing.
In a ruling made last month, judges ordered prosecutors to amend the Netanyahu citation to clearly distinguish between orders made by Netanyahu from those made by members of his family.
According to a statement made by his lawyer, the premier is not legally required to explain demands made by his members of his family.
Some of the alleged demands called for the rewording of articles to influence political discourse.
In one documented instance in January 2013, a Netanyahu associate asked Elovitch to post negative articles about Naftali Bennett’s wife, Gilat Bennett. One of them indicated that she had worked at an indecent restaurant before joining politics. Her husband, Naftali, currently heads the Yamina Party which opposes the Netanyahu establishment.
In another instance, Shaul Elovitch, the then chairman of Bezeq telecom, ordered his network to discontinue a live broadcast of an event held by one of Netanyahu’s political rivals. The incident happened during the 2015 election season.
Responding to the released indictment on Sunday, Netanyahu said that it was bound to fail.
“The prosecution barely managed to find 10 media requests from the prime minister to Walla in four years, an average of one request every half a year, during a time in which 10,000 articles were written about the prime minister in Walla,” he said.