Police Grill Media Mogul Mozes for Fifth Time Over Links With Netanyahu

Israel Police commissioner says senior officers involved in investigation have been harassed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Noni Mozes.
Atef Safadi/AP and Moti Kimche

Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon (Noni) Mozes appeared at police investigation unit Lahav 433 on Tuesday morning for further questioning. This was the fifth time Mozes was questioned in the context of “Case 2000,” at the center of which is the suspicion that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to provide the latter with favorable coverage in exchange for weakening the newspaper’s rival Israel Hayom.

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said Tuesday that he knows “that there is some harassment of senior officers involved in these investigations.” At a conference held at the “Muni-Expo Smart Cities in Israel” convention organized by the Union of Local Authorities, Alsheich said that he does not know who is behind this harassment. “Everyone can interpret it any way they want to,” he said, adding that “we support these officers – they are doing their job in a professional manner.”

Former senior police officers said that if pressure was exerted on senior investigators in a manner that violated the law, any suspect should be investigated forthwith.

Sources close to the prime minister said that he was fully cooperating with investigators and that he condemns any attempt from any source to pressure law enforcement and investigative officials. Shaya Segal, a former communications adviser to Netanyahu, testified at the offices of Lahav 433 on Monday in the “Case 1000” affair, in which Netanyahu and his family are alleged to have received unlawful gifts from tycoons in Israel and abroad. Estimates are that the value of gifts Netanyahu and his wife Sara received from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer amounts to 650,000 or 700,000 shekels ($172,000-$185,000).

Police investigators believe they have enough evidence regarding at least some of these suspicions. A senior legal expert also noted that several of the suspicions were borne out during the investigation. There is therefore a growing assessment that the police will recommend prosecuting Netanyahu at the end of the investigation process.

Two days ago Alsheich told reporters that police are looking at what really happened and have reached their conclusions regarding these suspicions. He said that the investigation was on its home stretch and if no unexpected developments crop up the police will transfer their findings to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and the state prosecution within weeks.