(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
“If you and I agree on a [Israel HaYom] law, I will do all I can [to ensure] that you will be here as long as you want,” Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon (Nuni) Mozes said to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a 2014 meeting, according to a Channel 2 report Tuesday night. “I look you straight in the eye and say this in the clearest terms possible.”
Channel 2 acknowledged that unlike most such reports they make public, they did not have a copy of the transcript and thus cannot fully corroborate its veracity, while vouching that they had obtained the statement from reliable sources.
Netanyahu will reportedly be questioned for a third time by police this week. Channel 2 reported on Monday that the police have two recorded conversations of Netanyahu and Mozes allegedly negotiating sympathetic coverage of the prime minister in return for the weakening of Yediot’s
main competitor, Israel HaYom
According to Channel 2, the police have at least two recordings of Netanyahu speaking to Mozes in the Prime Minister’s Office, for approximately one hour each time. The first meeting was held prior to the dissolution of the Knesset in 2014, and the second meeting was held shortly after the Knesset dissolved, according to the report.
The recordings were reportedly made by Ari Harow, the prime minister’s former chief of staff, at Netanyahu’s request.
Opposition chairman Isaac Herzog appealed on Monday to Attorney- General Avichai Mandelblit, demanding the removal of Netanyahu from his position as communications minister.
Herzog claimed in his appeal that recent media reports prove that Netanyahu has clear interests and a direct connection to Israel HaYom
, and that if Netanyahu is not removed, the Zionist Union would file a petition with the Supreme Court within 48 hours.
“I am not happy at the expense of Netanyahu,” said Herzog during the Zionist Union weekly faction meeting.
“I already said that we will replace Netanyahu in the ballot boxes,” and not due to his resignation.
“The reports on Netanyahu’s conversations with Yediot Aharonot’s Noni Mozes verifies the allegations that the news desk in Israel HaYom
was and still is being operated by Netanyahu,” said Herzog, adding, “Now it is proved beyond any doubt.”
Herzog contended that Israel HaYom
is actually “a forbidden donation of millions [of shekels] to the Likud and to Netanyahu” because “it is a tool serving one candidate and one party.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also chimed in on Monday regarding Netanyahu’s investigation, expressing skepticism of the allegations.
“I’m not impressed by the fact that the media is demanding an indictment but doesn’t know the law,” Liberman said at a meeting of Yisrael Beytenu on Monday.
The Mozes-Netanyahu recordings could underpin the “Case 2000” against Netanyahu, which police have kept under wraps. Police are also investigating “Case 1000,” which deals with allegations that Netanyahu accepted expensive cigars and gourmet meals in an illegal manner from Israeli-born movie mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer. Case 1000 is more likely to lead to an indictment against Netanyahu, according to the Hebrew media.
Police questioned Netanyahu under caution for a total of eight hours in two sessions last week regarding both cases.