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Netanyahu spent a lot of time on his image as national security, says Nir Hefetz

JERUSALEM — A fearsome fixer turned star witness finally stood in the corruption trial Benjamin Netanyahu Second, reveal some of the most intimate secrets of the former prime minister’s time in office.

Bibi’s The former right-hand man, Nir Hefetz, told the court his boss was a bum who spent a lot of time covering the national security of the media. He told the trial, which has shaken the country, that Mr. Netanyahu is obsessed with consolidating power and controlling his image, while he is dominated by his wife and son.

Hefetz became a state witness after he was jailed as part of a police investigation into Netanyahu’s charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. With the sound of a small clutch Netanyahu Supporters chanted “no forgiveness for exposed witnesses”, he entered the courtroom surrounded by bodyguards. Hefetz, the head of communications during Netanyahu’s last successful re-election campaign in 2015 began giving damning testimony that could last for months.

“Benjamin Netanyahu?” Hefetz rhetorically asks, “In all things media-related, he is more than just a control maniac. He demands every last detail. His control over everything related to media and his own social media channels couldn’t be tighter.”

“Netanyahu spends at least as much of its time on the media as it does on security issues, including those that any outsider would consider trivial,” Hefetz said. before describing the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu as the one who appointed her husband as chief of staff, spokesperson “and other positions” in Israel’s civil service.

Mr. Netanyahu is almost entirely preoccupied with the hostile media, Hefetz said.

All this from a man who said that Netanyahu remains “a leader I admire and with whom I share a worldview.” Hefetz told the court he was a wonderful man with “extraordinary capacity”.

“Case 4000,” which is currently being heard by three panels of judges of the Jerusalem District Court, revolves around Netanyahu’s attempt, as prime minister, to gain control of Walla News, a portal Israel’s famous news.

At the time of Mr Netanyahu’s indictment, Justice Minister Avichai Mandelblitt described a “squabble of words” between Netanyahu, who, in addition to serving as prime minister, appointed himself communications minister from 2014 to 2017. and Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder in Bezeq, Israel. largest telecommunications company, owns Walla.

Hefetz describes the unusual double date as the result of a family gathering. Sara Netanyahu and Yair, the 24-year-old son of the Netanyahus, “stress on this issue. It was a family decision that only he could take on as communications minister. The way they see it, no other communications minister, including those from Netanyahu’s Likud party, can withstand media pressure and will be dominated by the media. Only you [Netanyahu] can withstand pressure. “

Problems quickly went south. Hefetz testified that he saw himself being used as a roadblock for Elovitch, who asked for legal favors that could allow him to build Bezeq into an even larger corporation. At the same time, Yair Netanyahu was turned negative by the conviction that Elovitch and his wife, Iris, who had directly taken control of the Walla website about the Netanyahu family, had outdone his father.

Netanyahu’s expert advisers disagree, and Hefetz himself said he believes Elovich is doing everything he can to turn the site they own into a sort of Pravda, a news site that uses “prestige and reputation of credibility” to tilt the scale in Netanyahu’s favor.

According to Monday’s testimony, Elovitch, unhappy about Yair Netanyahu’s accusations, asked Hefetz “didn’t they understand we gave them the website?” The site, Hefetz said, is “a gift” to the Netanyahus.

But nothing could please young Yair, whose influence during this period was growing within Netanyahu’s inner circles, according to Hefetz, and causing friction that distracted his father from work. public affairs for long hours, “usually daily, never less than weekly. ”

“Netanyahu has the most control [in Walla],” said Hefetz, describing Netanyahu as the head of an underground smartphone store. “In Walla, he can decide what the headline will be, where it will be on the homepage. Even among the very, very supportive media, he has no control over to that extent. “

“At least since 2009,” Hefetz testified, noting the date of the start of Netanyahu’s long term, “his management, control, and formulation of all interactions with any kind of media Which media is absolute. His level of control over media affairs is not high – it is complete and comprehensive. It is absolute, much more than what is known to the public.”

“A large part of his time is spent on this,” continued Hefetz. “Let me make it clear that that doesn’t measure his time, but in my opinion, [media] is what holds him number one.”

Netanyahu featured in most of his former top aide’s testimony, makeup and camera ready, wearing the classic Trump ensemble of a blue suit and bright red tie. His personal entourage has dwindled since his days in high office, with the bodyguards and prison assistants who once surrounded him disappearing. Crowds that he and Yair, now 30, have summoned to the streets to protest against Israel’s judiciary, which they say participated in a “coup” that failed to materialize.

A handful of Likud legislators attended the dramatic session in the small courtroom of Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman of the Jerusalem District Court while, across town, in the Israeli parliament, the new government led by Former Prime Minister Netanyahu Naftali Bennett presented a bill that would limit prime minister terms. eight years.

Shelly Yechimovich, a former Labor Party leader who has been the subject of Hefetz’s threats and now hosts a radio news program, said: “Hefetz is not just one of the superpowers. “Everybody trembled at the sound of his name.”

Hefetz’s profound knowledge of Netanyahu’s inner circle workings has made his testimony the most anticipated of the hundreds of witnesses listed in Netanyahu’s trial, which is expected to drag many years long.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/netanyahu-spent-as-much-time-on-his-image-as-national-security-says-nir-hefetz?source=articles&via=rss Netanyahu spent a lot of time on his image as national security, says Nir Hefetz

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