search

Key witness in Netanyahu trial says defense arguments in fact strengthen graft allegations

Former CEO of Walla news website Ilan Yeshua arrives for his testimony in the case against Prime Minister Netanyahu who is on trial on criminal allegations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, at the District Court in Jerusalem, May 4, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Former CEO of Walla news website Ilan Yeshua arrives for his testimony in the case against Prime Minister Netanyahu who is on trial on criminal allegations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, at the District Court in Jerusalem, May 4, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The trial against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu renews at the Jerusalem District Court, with Netanyahu’s attorney trying to show that changes in coverage by the Walla news website to suit the premier’s needs weren’t unique and were also done to please other politicians.

Boaz Ben Tzur, the former premier’s attorney, challenges former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua, the first witness in the trial, presenting a large volume of correspondence he had around 2012 with the staff of Likud MKs Ofir Akunis and Yuval Steinitz and then-Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, allegedly showing he was also trying to curry favor with them.

But Yeshua attempts to convince the court that the new evidence in fact strengthens the prosecutors’ case rather than undermining it.

He acknowledges that he had at times acted in an improper manner, but argues that the improved coverage was granted to Akunis, Steinitz and Ben-Eliezer at the orders of Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch due to their closeness to Netanyahu: Akunis and Steinitz are members of his party who were involved in communications issues, and the since-deceased Ben-Eliezer had been backed by Netanyahu in the 2014 election for president.

comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed