Yair Lapid, Tzipi Livni to testify against Benjamin Netanyahu

The state prosecution updated the defense on its witness list, with the high-profile witnesses finally appearing in a realistic timeframe for the near future.

 Likud party chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at the Shaare Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem on November 23, 2022. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Likud party chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at the Shaare Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem on November 23, 2022.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, former justice minister Tzipi Livni and former chief of staff to Benjamin Netanyahu Ari Harow could be testifying in the incoming prime minister’s public corruption trial in the next month or two.

The state prosecution on Sunday updated the defense on its witness list, with the three high-profile witnesses finally appearing in a realistic timeframe in the near future.

The prosecution will still be calling a range of professional-level regulatory witnesses related to Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla Affair. However, after that round, the prosecution intends to return to Case 1000, the Illegal Gifts Affair, and take its first serious step into Case 2000, the Yediot Aharonot-Israel Hayom Affair since the trial started in May 2000.

Which cases will Lapid, Livni and Harow testify for?

Lapid is expected to testify about Netanyahu’s alleged attempts to amend the country’s laws and policies to grant a special exemption to Netanyahu’s tycoon ally Arnon Milchan.

Milchan gave Netanyahu hundreds of thousands of shekels in expensive gifts over several years.

A court hearing in the trial against former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the District Court in Jerusalem on March 23, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)A court hearing in the trial against former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the District Court in Jerusalem on March 23, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The mix of these circumstances led to the breach-of-trust indictment in Case 1000.

Harow, who turned state’s witness, is expected to fill in various details for both Cases 1000 and 2000, though he is not expected to characterize Netanyahu’s conduct as being criminal the way two other former aides, Nir Hefetz and Shlomo Filber, did.

Livni is expected to testify in Case 2000 about efforts by Netanyahu to explore passing a law that would have undermined Israel Hayom in favor of Yediot Aharonot.

Passing the law could have been part of a media bribery scheme in which Netanyahu allegedly assisted Yediot in exchange for the newspaper shifting from attacking Netanyahu to covering him positively.