Calls between Netanyahu, 'Yediot' editor in Case 2000 exposed

"If you're coming to strike me down, I'll use all my capabilities," the prime minister said, adding that "it will become my life's mission."

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu. He cannot be a unifier (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu. He cannot be a unifier
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The recordings of phone calls Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had with Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon "Noni" Moses were published Saturday on Channel 13. These recordings are central to Netanyahu's Case 2000 (the Yediot Aharonot-Israel Hayom Affair), in which he is, according to media sources, expected to be indicted for fraud and breach of trust.

In one of the conversations between the prime minister and Moses, Netanyahu can be heard referring to the "Israel Hayom law" (named after a newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson, a fierce supporter of Netanyahu at the time) that was expected to ease the competition in the media market, strengthening Yediot

"The law is just as itself and I will support it," the prime minister said. "But if you come to knock me down, I will use all my capabilities – and I will do that because it will become my life's mission. You need to know me. You know me, partially. That is a thing that can be avoided."

In one of the recordings, Netanyahu can be heard talking to Moses about one of Yediot's journalists. "There is a reporter named Yigal Sarna. Do you know him? He works for you," Netanyahu said. Moses answers that the newspaper tried to "get rid" of the journalist. "But you didn't fire him," Netanyahu replied. "Yigal Sarna decided to write against me this week."

Moses tried to calm down the prime minister, saying "we have tens of journalists who write on Facebook." Netanyahu angrily asked Moses: Sarna "suddenly decided to write? What happened!?" Moses replied, questioning whether the prime minister does not "accept [the fact] that people write on Facebook and we have no control over it."

"What do you want me to do?" Netanyahu said. "You are forcing me to fight you. If you're making your life's mission to knock me down, my life's mission is to fight you." He said it "will not end after the election," adding that he has "no choice but to fight [Moses] in every possible way." Netanyahu also said "I have no choice; today we'll hit him with an 8 kg. sledgehammer, and tomorrow we'll bring the 12 kg. one."

Netanyahu commented on the publication of the recordings, saying that, "the prime minister had insignificant conversations with Noni Moses, and even the prosecution admits he [Netanyahu] had no intention to pass the law that would shut down Israel Hayom.

"Quite the contrary – Prime Minister Netanyahu is the only one who acted against that law, dissolving the Knesset and halting it, getting negative coverage in return from Noni Moses. However, Eytan Cabel, Tzipi Livni, [Blue and White co-leader MK] Yair Lapid and [Yisrael Beytenu Leader MK] Avigdor Liberman supported the law and got [positive] coverage in return. It is absurd that Netanyahu is tried and the others are untouched."

"This evening you are bringing a biased, criminal leak, the goal of which is harming Prime Minister Netanyahu and divert the [public] attention from the biased-enforcement stench that comes out of the transliterations of Cabel's investigation."

"Those who hear all of the recordings of the conversations between Netanyahu and Moses realize that Moses is the one extorting and threatening Netanyahu – and Netanyahu only clarifies that he would answer that with a media attack against Moses, as he did during [his] election campaign."
The Israeli Journalism Committee expressed their shock over the recordings, and over Moses' willingness to bias media coverage and his way of "managing" reporters.
The committee wished to strengthen the reporters at Israel Hayom as well as those of any news outlet who work in accordance with the committee's code of ethics – regardless of pressure coming from owners, publishers, the prime minister's office or ministries – and continue to accomplish their journalistic work even in our reality.


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