Hefetz’s testimony is expected to continue next week, in which he is expected to address the two additional cases in the Netanyahu trial – the 1000 case (the gifts) and the 2000 case (the Netanyahu-Mozes talks). After the testimony and questions are completed, the defense attorneys’ cross-examination will begin, and this is expected to last for many weeks.
Hefetz’s testimony during the three days of trial this week was spread over a period of several years and on several levels. It included, among other things, his involvement and knowledge of the relationship between Netanyahu and businessman Elowitz, of the moves to staff the Ministry of Communications around the 2015 elections, of the prime minister’s individual, meticulous and meticulous coverage of his media coverage, and especially of the direct channel he filled. In which Netanyahu allegedly dominated his political and family coverage in Walla. Ynet is sorting out the main points of Nir Hefetz’s testimony so far.
Just before the start of the court hearing, in which Netanyahu was present in an unusual manner, the State Attorney’s Office provided the judges and the defense with part of a “witness interview” held for Hefetz before he went to the witness stand. There he clarified that contrary to what is stated in the indictment, he was never sent by Netanyahu to talk to former Director General of the Ministry of Communications, Shlomo Pilber, regarding regulatory matters related to Elowitz.
Netanyahu’s extensive involvement in the media: Hefetz said that the level of the prime minister’s involvement in the issue at the time was almost as intense as in the field of security.
The decision to replace Communications Minister Gilad Ardan ahead of the 2015 elections: Hefetz said she was received by the prime minister following consultations with his family, including his son Yair. After the family consultation, it was decided that “only Netanyahu will be the Minister of Communications.”
At one point, Hefetz testified, Elovich handed him a list of preferred candidates for him for the post of Minister of Communications: “Mr. Elovich gave a list. “There is also the possibility of Akunis, but he does not know him.”
Netanyahu-Hefetz-Elovich axis. Hefetz said: “In 2014, when I returned to work with Netanyahu, he instructed me to contact and meet with Elovich – and that he would be the only and exclusive contact person for conveying his messages on media issues related to the Walla website.” According to him, Elovich “courted” him to convey messages to the former prime minister regarding regulatory matters surrounding the merger deal of Bezeq and yes.
Document transfer and shredding. Hefetz described a meeting by the pool at Elovich’s house, who submitted documents to him and asked to pass them on to Netanyahu: . Hefetz gave them to Netanyahu in his office, and after reading them carefully, he shredded them and asked his secretary to schedule a meeting with Elovich.
Netanyahu-Elovich meeting. Hefetz said that the meeting took place in Netanyahu’s study, after he himself closed the curtains in the room so that it would not be possible to see from the outside who was with the prime minister: “Netanyahu whispered to me that he wanted me to put Elowitz in a way that those present would not notice.”
Iris Elowitz enters the picture. Hefetz testified: “I certainly updated Sarah Netanyahu from now on, Iris Elowitz personally supervises the contents of the Netanyahu family on Walla. I do not remember if I updated Benjamin Netanyahu on that.”
Of whom actually “Walla”. Hefetz was asked what the importance of the site was for Netanyahu as a media outlet, and replied: “In the election campaign (2015, GM), Walla’s importance was undoubtedly very, very high.” Elowitz and Walla do not provide proper exposure to Netanyahu. On the other hand, he said, Elowitz said: “What, they (the Netanyahu family, GM) do not understand that this site is theirs?”. Hefetz concluded: “On the Walla website, our highest level was to control what would be in the homepage (home page) and what would be the title.”
Coverage of the Netanyahu family. Hefetz testified that Benjamin Netanyahu was involved in all of his and his family’s media affairs: “I would receive regular calls about family-related issues. Netanyahu would initiate the conversation. He was the last word, the boss. There is no dispute who gives the instructions.” As an example, he gave the case of Mani Naftali: “It was forbidden to breathe without Netanyahu approving – it was an absolute taboo.”
Did Walla deliver the goods? Hefetz testified: “Elovich’s response was absolute to every request. The question was how to do it, not whether to do it.” But not everyone in the Netanyahu family’s thought like him. According to Hefetz, the son Yair was not happy with the family coverage on the site and even slapped his father several times: “I sat with Netanyahu in Balfour. Advertisers “. According to Hefetz, Netanyahu did not respond.
He later demonstrated how deep the Netanyahu family’s apparent control over the site was. According to him, the rule was that “Shaul and Iris Elovich do not appoint a senior editor without the approval of the prime minister and his wife.” However, Hefetz stressed that he had never received any instruction from Netanyahu to convey a message to Elowitz in the regulatory field.
The disruption meeting at Beit Elovich. Hefetz told in detail – and in tears – about December 27, 2016, when he arrived at the Elowitz couple’s home, and together they agreed to destroy their telephones, which have records of conversations detailing their relationship and may incriminate them.
The meeting was held due to reports that another investigation was about to be published due to connections between Netanyahu and a businessman, and the three feared that it was Elowitz. Hefetz: “I was very scared. I made a big mistake that I regret and take responsibility for. I initiated a conversation with Elovich, I arrived at his house. Shaul told me to ‘get rid of the irons’ (cell phones, GM) and told me to get rid of my cell phone as well. He asked me to call Yeshua (Ilan Yeshua, CEO of Walla at the time to a central committee in the 4000 case, GM) and update him on a conversation with Yossi Cohen (the Netanyahu family’s lawyer, GM). It later turned out that the investigation was about the 2000 affair in general “.
This kind of pressure was not just the lot of the Elowitz couple. Hefetz: “There was another case later. In Balfour, Sarah and Yair Netanyahu were waiting for me, in complete panic. They asked me to go immediately to the Elowitz family home. Yair was shaking, physically. “That the Elowitz couple changed their cell phones and I told them ‘okay.’
The judges decided to hear Hefetz’s testimonies about Netanyahu’s wife and son, who are not accused in the case. However, the judges stressed that there is a problem in producing awareness of Netanyahu’s own actions from the actions of his family members, who will not testify on the issue.
Coverage of the dormitory affair. At the last hearing this week, yesterday, prosecutor Tabenkin focused on specific events that establish, according to the State Attorney’s Office, Netanyahu’s control over his coverage of Walla. One of them covered the auditor’s report on the issue of the prime minister’s residence, close to the 2015 elections. Hefetz testified: “The report was rightly perceived as an event that would decide the election here or there.
“The person who conducted the event from a media point of view was Benjamin Netanyahu. Sarah and Yossi Cohen were involved, but only he gave the instruction. In ‘Walla’, the whole issue of the dormitory report – the response was complete. We, the Likud headquarters, have decided what the items will be. “Everything we asked for was done to the end, without reservation.”
Explosion of the interview with Dov Gilhar. Walla agreed with Netanyahu on a videotaped interview ahead of the election, which will be conducted by journalist Dov Gilhar. But the then prime minister was furious at the way Gilhar was interviewed, and in the end the raw materials photographed were sent to Balfour and edited by Netanyahu and Hefetz themselves. Hefetz testified: “I was convinced that it was right for us to publish. The interview was fine. On my laptop in Balfour, I showed Netanyahu the video and wrote down from every second to what second he wanted to cut out passages that bothered him. I passed instructions that Benjamin Netanyahu gave me. “.
Who flocks to the polls. Hefetz described the sequence of events surrounding the video “Arab voters move in huge numbers to the polls” from the election day in 2015, which was considered by many to be the most significant in the Likud’s victory at the polls that day. Hefetz testified: “Entering the study in Balfour, he, me and the head of the Likud’s new media headquarters, Topaz Look, who is filming three videos of the video on his iPhone, and I stand with two hands on the door. Netanyahu chooses the video he likes best, and we buy through companies “The cellphone texted. 20 minutes later, the number of phones that received the video was 1.4 million. The video was distributed like wildfire. Queues at the polls, it spurred the public to leave.”
In his interrogation, Hefetz claimed that on election day, state-controlled media outlets could not publish such videos, so advertising through a widely circulated website is very important. In testimony in court, Hefetz claimed that he did not remember, but it sounded logical and accurate to him.
Miri Regev’s post. The plaintiff presented a correspondence in which Hefetz asked Yeshua if “Walla” could publish an article about a post she published by Miri Regev on the occasion of Women’s Day, in which she refers to Manny Naftali. “Netanyahu is unequivocally involved,” Hefetz testified. “It has always been my way. Regev, after conversations, writes the text, sends it to the prime minister for approval and only then publishes.”
The Prime Minister’s recording. Hefetz referred to the fact that he had recordings of conversations with Netanyahu, and said it was not a deliberate act but probably a result of a recording app he downloaded to his device to record conversations with other parties: “I did not record a conversation with the prime minister consciously. There are recordings of this kind, on the way “Inadvertently. I never listened to them. I probably recorded something else and stayed open.”