Tags: Israel | netanyahu

Netanyahu Negotiated With Publisher out of Fears for Family

israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (DEBBIE HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 26 June 2020 01:41 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told investigators he engaged in secret conversations with newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes because he was fearful of Mozes publicly smearing his children to the point that they would contemplate suicide, Haaretz reports.

Netanyahu told investigators he was "buying time" so the "Yedioth Ahronoth" publisher "would not put a bullet in the heads of my children," the newspaper reports.

Netanyahu was discussing different rounds of negotiations that took place between 2009 and 2014 that are suspected to center around a bribery deal.

The conversations were recorded by Netanyahu. He said he recorded them to save them for "the day of judgment." Originally, he denied he taped the talks, according to Haaretz.

In one of the conversations, Netanyahu agreed to weaken a rival newspaper through legislation. In exchange, Mozes would paint Netanyahu in a positive light. The leader claims he was joking about using the law to help Mozes.

"A tactical discussion between wolves," is how Netanyahu described their meetings to investigators.

Netanyahu casually told investigators he was fearful that Mozes would harm his wife and kids. Later, he amped up his concerns that Mozes would say harmful things that could drive his kids to commit suicide, according to the newspaper.

When investigatiors asked him why he continued to speak with Mozes, Netanyahu said, "I was trying to prevent the situation in which he did terrible things to my children."

"It could reach false incrimination or public shaming," he said.

He added: "Over the years, I talked to him in order to lower the flames and said that I needed it not because of his media but because of a different reason: As far as I was concerned, the only thing that truly interested me was what he would do to my children. He would call occasionally ... before the meetings, and sort of ask a question about my children. ... From time to time he would run stories."

Netanyahu also claimed that Mozes threatened to hurt his kids in one of the conversations, something Mozes denies took place.

"Mozes told me, "I can hurt you and everything that is dear to you, everything that is dear to you,'" Netanyahu said.

When investigators asked Netanyahu why he didn't report the threat to the authorities, he responded: "Will anyone believe me? This threat was enough and I understood it."

Netanyahu continued corresponding with Mozes after the alleged threat.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told investigators he engaged in secret conversations with a newspaper publisher because he was fearful of him publicly smearing his children to the point that they would contemplate suicide.
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2020-41-26
Friday, 26 June 2020 01:41 PM
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