“One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.” -Mark Twain
A Brief History of Case-4000
Our story begins with the Israeli businessman Shaul Elovitch, the owner of Bezeq (Israel’s biggest telecommunications company) and a supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu whom he wanted to help. This support was a result of common patriotism, and he saw Netanyahu as an effective and positive leader. He also believed in his economic leadership.
Shaul Elovitch held the same opinions as millions of Israel’s citizens. At this point this is not yet considered a crime, only a sin…
The company in which Shaul Elovitch had a substantial stake (Bezeq) purchased a marginal news portal which had aspirations to become a leading news site.
Elovitch couldn’t bear the fact that the site under his ownership continuously assailed the prime minister whom he supported, in the same way that Amos Shoken (Owner of Haaretz, a left leaning newspaper) wouldn’t bear to publish stories about candle lighting in Hebron or calls for the bombardment of Gaza.
This can also be said of Noni Moses (owner of Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s second largest newspaper) who would find it insufferable if his paper were to assail his Protégé Yair Lapid.
Therefore Shaul Elovitch wanted to help Netanyahu and give him positive press coverage, as is common amongst politicians and publishers amongst virtually all democracies.
That didn’t work out for him very well due to the fact that the portal’s CEO was prone to lying and stalling, and in reality let his journalists wreak havoc with libelous and poisonous stories related to Benjamin Netanyahu and his family.
from the CEO’s viewpoint Netanyahu was destroying the zionist cause, while simultanously stating the opposite to the site’s owner. This was a CEO who claimed that he had got things done, when he didn’t.
Elovitch did try to bring in people who would help him in supporting Netanyahu after witnessing the injustice done to him in the press, but he failed miserably. Despite this, the chief state prosecutors defined Netanyahu’s loosely indirect relations with the site as a ‘bribe’.
In a separate matter, Shaul Elovitch wanted to improve the business standing of Bezeq, the company in which he held a substantial stake. He also believed that Bezeq was only one of two companies in the state that had the resources and ability to install a new statewide fiber-optic network, with the added benefit of advancing the whole telecom market. Understandably he also wanted to profit from the venture in order to benefit the company’s shareholders including himself, but also the general public which was invested in the company via institutional shareholders (pension funds etc.).
Despite his friendship with Elovitch, Netanyahu did not intervene in the regulatory process related to the venture, and left it entirely in the hands of the communications minister Gilad Erdan and the ministry’s director-general Avi Berger. The latter had a penchant for stalling the process for Bezeq, which was not even given the benefit of a lengthy process but was just ignored.
If Netanyahu were only just slightly as dishonest or corrupt as his rivals on the other side of the aisle, he would have promptly intervened in the regulatory process to benefit his friend Elovitch. He did not, and gave full leeway to state officials to deal with the matter. Eventually, even they understood that the business venture was reasonable and would benefit the market as a whole. Only at the latter stage of the regulatory process after all the main regulators had approved of the venture, did Netanyahu formally submit his signature.
To conclude all the above, there was never a bribe, and nothing was ever ‘given in return’. If one counts this as a bribery deal, it would easily count as one of the worst and unrewarding in history.
Shaul Elovitch emerged as a brave personality and could have benefited tremendously if he had cooperated in engineering Netanyahu’s Downfall.
However, he refused and should be awarded full honors by the public.
All this is revealed in the trial through various witnesses and press revelations.
This, in a nutshell, is case-4000.