The full exchange of text messages between the legal adviser to the Israel Securities Authority and the judge presiding over the Bezeq corruption case was released Monday by Channel 10.
The WhatsApp exchange that took place on Sunday, which some believed to be evidence of collusion between the ISA’s Eran Shacham-Shavit and Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz, appears to be less damning than initially reported — when only a snippet was available — showing the two were mainly discussing case logistics.
Following publication of the chat Sunday, Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked ordered a formal inquiry into Poznansky-Katz’s behavior.
Poznansky-Katz was removed from planned hearings in the case on Monday, with the president of the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court saying that she had been put on immediate leave and would not take part in any further court deliberations until the inquiry was completed. Shacham-Shavit was also removed from the case and placed on leave, and the Israel Securities Authority vowed to investigate his actions.
Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz: I’d like to see the materials beforehand. I’ll let you know when I get to court so we can talk before the hearing.
Eran Shacham-Shavit: 100%
Shacham-Shavit: Do you have an idea for the time of the remand hearing?
Poznansky-Katz: Can we make it earlier? The meeting and the discussion? I’m on my way to court now.
Shacham-Shavit: So are we.
Poznansky-Katz: I’m here, where are you guys?
Shacham-Shavit: We’re outside, but Or [the police representative] and her team aren’t here yet. I’d prefer not to risk my own death [by going inside without her].
Poznansky-Katz: And rightfully so. We’ll wait.
(Start of initially released text:)
Shacham-Shavit: Great, well the good news is that Or [Elovitch] and Amikam [Shorer] will be conditionally released tomorrow. Look surprised. [Channel 10 reporter adds: Poznansky-Katz is a judge who generally seeks to minimize suspects’ days in detention]
Poznansky-Katz: I’m starting to work on an appropriately surprised expression.
Shacham-Shavit: Stella [Handler] and Iris [Elovitch], tomorrow we [the ISA] will ask for three days. You can certainly, certainly give two days [Channel 10 reporter adds: meaning the ISA is not opposed to the remand being 2 days and not 3].
Poznansky-Katz: You keep telling me everything, so I will really have to try to look really surprised.
(End of initially released text.)
Poznansky-Katz: So maybe our timeline [for the suspects’ remand] that we’ve thought out isn’t so far from reality.
Shacham-Shavit: It cost me blood at Lahav [Channel 10 reporter adds: meaning he clashed with anti-corruption investigators over the length of the remands the state would seek for the suspects].
Poznansky-Katz: I think there is nothing more terrifying than being arrested by Lahav.
Shacham-Shavit: Seriously, I’m still traumatized by it.
Poznansky-Katz: I can imagine.
Shacham-Shavit: I’m here, can I come in.
[Shacham-Shavit and Poznansky-Katz then enter the court for a series of remand hearings]