Benjamin Netanyahu is labelled a ‘media-obsessed control freak’ by former confidante as the ex-Israeli prime minister’s corruption trial continues
- Former Netanyahu aide testified against him on Monday during his corruption trial in Jerusalem
- Nir Hefetz said the former Prime Minister was a ‘control freak’ regarding his public image
- The information presented last week alleged that Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, had accepted an expensive bracelet as a gift from two billionaire friends
A one-time Netanyahu aide testified against him on Monday in the former Israeli Prime Minister’s corruption trial in Jerusalem.
Nir Hefetz, a former spokesman for Netanyahu, said in his testimony, that Netanyahu was a ‘control freak’ when it comes to his public image.
He said: ‘his control over everything relating to media matters and in his social media channels could not be higher.’
Netanyahu, who served as prime minister for 12 years until June, has pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud in cases that centre on alleged regulatory favours he awarded to media tycoons in return for positive press coverage and receipt of gifts, including cigars and champagne.
According to Hefetz’s testimony, Netanyahu made public image one of his main priorities, at par with issues such as national security.
‘Netanyahu spends at least as much of his time on media as he spends on security matters, including on matters an outsider would consider nonsense,’ Hefetz told the court.
Former Netanyahu aide Nir Hefetz appears in court where he labelled the former prime minister a ‘control freak’
The information presented in court alleged that Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, had accepted an expensive bracelet as a gift from two billionaire friends, Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.
Hefetz’s testimony was delayed by a week after Netanyahu’s defense attorneys requested time to review the new evidence.
Hefetz began working as as a spokesman for Netanyahu’s government in 2009 and when he was arrested in connection with one of his corruption cases in 2018, he signed a state’s witness deal providing recordings of conversations with Netanyahu and his family.
The former Prime Minister, who appeared in the Jerusalem District Court Monday morning has pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud in cases that centre on regulatory favours he allegedly awarded to media tycoons in return for positive press coverage.
He’s the defendant in three separate cases. One alleging that he received gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy friends, including Milchan and Packer.
The second case, alleging that Netanyahu orchestrated positive coverage in a major Israeli paper in exchange for promoting legislation that would have harmed the news outlet’s chief rival.
The former Prime Minister, who denies any wrongdoing, appeared in the Jerusalem District Court Monday surrounded by fellow Likud party politicians
And the third one, known as Case 4000, accusing Netanyahu of promoting legislation worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the owner of Israeli telecom giant Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage on its Walla news site.
His trial formally began in 2020 and is expected to take years.
The former Prime Minister has long rejected calls to step down from the country’s leadership after he was indicted in 2019, saying that the media and the courts had launched a ‘witch-hunt’ against him.
Earlier this year, Netanyahu and his Likud party were ousted from power after a coalition united in their opposition.
In June, Netanyahu’s former ally Naftali Bennett, formed a patchwork coalition government of rightist, centrist, left-wing and Muslim Arab parties.
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