Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned Friday, while the authorities continue to investigate suspicions that he, in his role as minister of communication between 2014 and 2017, intervened with regulators to help a telecommunications company in exchange for favorable reporting in the media.
The questioning of Friday marked the eleventh time since early 2017 that the authorities questioned Netanyahu about multiple corruption investigations. Former Bezeq chef Shaul Elovitch was simultaneously questioned with Netanyahu.
After the interrogation, Netanyahu's office stated that the prime minister believed that the investigation, called Case 4000, was finally collapsed.
"The data proves unequivocally that reporting on Netanyahu in Walla! During (Shaul) Elovitch's term remained negative, just as when Walla! Owned Amos Schocken and did not change when Netanyahu became Minister of Communications," said the statement.
In addition to Netanyahu and Elovitch, it was revealed on Friday that Gilad Erdan, the minister of public security, recently gave an open testimony about his tenure as Minister of Communications in 2013-2014 and his position on Bezeq.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor who directs the various investigations related to Netanyahu in private talks complained that the two highest judicial officers of Israel are unnecessarily slow in taking decisions about the cases, according to sources that claimed confidential to be with these alleged conversations.
Tel Aviv District Attorney for Economic and Tax Crimes Liat Ben Ari heard that while the team they lead works fast and with determination, prosecutor Shai Nitzan and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit postpone their decisions for many weeks. For example, Ben Ari wanted to interrogate a certain public figure and Mendelblit took his decision only after two months.
According to Ben Ari, as quoted by a source, this behavior is unintentional, the result of the heavy workload of senior officials of the Ministry of Justice. Nonetheless, she expressed frustration about the pace of research progress.
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Officials from the Ministry of Justice noted that he was last questioned about this probe four months ago. Between March and July, Netanyahu and Mendelblit were working on security issues, which may have delayed the investigation. If this is true, this is an example of the tension between the two roles of the Attorney General – as a close aid to the Prime Minister on sensitive security issues and if the person decides whether to sue the Prime Minister.
Two months ago, Gidi Weitz revealed in Haaretz that the investigation into allegations of financial misconduct involving the official residence of Netanyahu was the only investigation into Netanyahu that Mendelblit had given to the District Prosecutor in Jerusalem.
The Department of Justice said in a statement that the remarks attributed to Ben Ari were incorrect. "We now formulate recommendations in the different cases and nothing delays this: every urgent issue is dealt with by senior judicial officers via telephone or e-mail," the statement said.
Two months ago, Mendelblit spoke with the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, about the duration of Netanyahu's investigations. He said that, contrary to public perception, the research began about a year and a half ago. Investigation into the lavish gift affair, known as Case 1000, began formally in January 2017, but the investigation of the accusations began in July 2016.
In addition to following Case 4000, Ben Ari and her team of attorneys are writing a legal opinion in Case 1000 as well as in the Yedioth Ahronoth counterproposal case, known as Case 2000. The material in these cases was received last February.