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State witness: Sara Netanyahu, not Benjamin, threatened Bezeq over news coverage

Nir Hefetz at the Jerusalem District Court, November 22, 2021 (Oren Ben Hoken/Pool)
Nir Hefetz at the Jerusalem District Court, November 22, 2021 (Oren Ben Hoken/Pool)

Nir Hefetz, a former aide and confidant to then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, testifies for the second day as a state’s witness in the trial against his ex-boss.

Hefetz was testifying in Case 4000, in which Netanyahu is alleged to have worked to illicitly and lucratively benefit the business interests of Bezeq’s controlling shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, in exchange for positive coverage on Walla, a news site owned by Elovitch. Netanyahu is charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the case. He denies any wrongdoing.

In his testimony, Hefetz indicates Sara Netanyahu, the former prime minister’s wife, made threats relating to the government regulation of Bezeq after being angered by news articles featured on Walla.

At one point, says Hefetz, Sara Netanyahu told then-Communications Ministry director general Shlomo Filber to “turn off the regulation tap” for Bezeq and threatened to sever ties with the Elovitches.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara address their supporters on the night of the Israeli elections, at Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

“It’s important that I emphasize that this was Sara and not Benjamin Netanyahu. I was never asked by Benjamin Netanyahu to send a message to Mr. Elovitch or anyone in his circle regarding regulation,” continues Hefetz.

Hefetz turned state witness after being arrested and questioned over a two-week period, and has provided prosecutors with key information as an interlocutor between Netanyahu and Bezeq’s Elovitch.

Hefetz made thousands of recordings of conversations during his years working with the Netanyahus.

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