Opposition leader Yair Lapid's cross-examination at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial continued on Tuesday at the Jerusalem District Court.
"This doesn't make me happy, this isn't how I want to win elections," said Lapid on Tuesday, in questions about the political convenience of the trial of his political opponent. "This is a sad day for the state of Israel."
The Netanyahu legal team noted that Lapid sought to unseat Netanyahu and return to his former position as prime minister. He had long expressed the desire to become prime minister, before he had spoken to police investigators.
The defense challenged Lapid with the idea that Milchan had told police investigators that it was Lapid, not Netanyahu that had helped him. Netanyahu lawyer Amit Haddad asked why Milchan was not mentioned in a conflict of interest declaration when he became finance minister, but Lapid responded that there was no conflict of interest to declare -- an honest politician "doesn't accept gifts."
Haddad noted that Lapid had worked for Milchan for several months in Los Angeles and stayed at a hotel at his expense, but said that neither Lapid nor Netanyahu should have had to report a conflict of interest with the businessman.
The Yesh Atid head began his testimony on Monday, and finished just before noon on Tuesday. Another witness, one of businessman Arnon Milchan's accountants give a short testimony after Lapid.
Milchan himself is scheduled to begin his testimony remotely on June 25. The prosecution and defense will have representatives in London as Milchan takes the stand-by video call in the Israeli embassy. The decision was made to allow the remote testimony because he is ostensibly too ill to travel. On Monday the defense asked for more details about the logistics of the process.
Lapid has testified on Case 1000 allegations against Netanyahu that the prime minister accepted expensive gifts from Milchan in return for aid in his business affairs.
Lapid's first testimony session
On Monday, Lapid detailed how Milchan, a mutual friend of him and Netanyahu, had lobbied him on a tax law when he had been finance minister in 2013. Milchan had requested an extension of a 10 year immigrant tax exemption for another ten years. According to the indictment, Milchan had become a returning immigrant in 2009.
Lapid had rejected the amendment and testified that Netanyahu had asked him twice briefly about the matter. The defense attacked Lapid's memory and telling of stories as unreliable, and noted that Netanyahu did not press the matter. Under questioning by a judge, Lapid said that he did feel that Netanyahu was "checking off a box" in regards to Milchan.
The defense argued that it appeared that Milchan had come to Lapid our of his own prerogative and lobbied to the then-finance minister in a fashion that contended that the matter was to the benefit of all Israelis.
When it came to the gifts of cigars and champagne allegedly given to Netanyahu, the defense presented Milchan as standard behavior to his friends and came with no strings attached. Pictures were presented of Lapid drinking and smoking with Milchan, but the Yesh Atid head said that this was before his political career, and that he wasn't in the habit of accepting gifts, and that he paid for things that he desired.
The defense asked to cancel the hearing on Wednesday, and another hearing on next Monday had also been canceled.