After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a journalist who published an investigative report about him should be jailed, his partner in the unity government, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, tweets: “”Journalists’ job is to critique us. So it has been, so it is now and so it will continue.”
Gantz is joined by other Blue and White officials including Communications Minister Yoaz Handel and Social Equality Minister Merav Cohen, who defend the freedom of the press.
In response to a Channel 13 investigative report detailing Netanyahu’s alleged pressuring of the owner of the Walla news site Shaul Elovitch to provide positive coverage in exchange for regulatory benefits — an issue for which the prime minister is on trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000 — Likud and Netanyahu issued a statement claiming veteran journalist Raviv Drucker was “running wild with leaks and extortion of witnesses.” It claimed “the game is rigged” against Netanyahu. “In a proper world Raviv Drucker would be going to jail today for airing criminal leaks and obstructing justice.”
Drucker aired recording transcriptions of conversations in which Elovitch said Netanyahu was doing many things for him, things “I wouldn’t believe…I feel I owe [him] all the time… and I’m not delivering.”
In another transcript, then-Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua complains to Elovitch of being “a string puppet” for Netanyahu and warns news reports benefiting the Netanyahu family must be done “carefully” or management could face a revolt from the newsroom.