Retired High Court Judge: Netanyahu's Talk With Media Mogul a ‘Perfect Example of a Bribe’

'An office holder threatened with extortion goes to the police, but he didn't,' says Justice Eliyahu Matza, dismissing claims by Netanyahu's associates.

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

Former deputy chief of the Supreme Court, Justice Eliyhau Matza, said the conversations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes are a clear example of bribery.

In an interview on Army Radio, Matza said that it was “clear to any novice jurist that the deal, as appears from the sparse details of these conversations, fulfills all the requirements needed to be considered a bribe as defined by law.”

Netanyahu is being investigated by police after a tape surfaced in which the prime minister promised Yedioth’s publisher that he would promote legislation that would damage the daily Israel Hayom in exchange for better coverage of Netanyahu by Yedioth,

Matza called this “an almost perfect example of a deal with an offer of a bribe, a recipient and an agreement and promises on details regarding how things would be executed.”

The former Supreme Court justice also related to claims by Netanyahu’s associates that the conversations were taped because Mozes was trying to extort him. “An office holder threatened with extortion goes to the police. If he’s prime minister he can turn to the attorney general. If he’d done so he would have remained above any suspicion, but he didn’t.”

Former Supreme Court Justice Eliyahu Matza.
Olivier Fitoussi

Haaretz has learned that Mozes told Netanyahu that he would do everything to enable him to remain in power as long as he wished. Mozes allegedly proposed that Netanyahu choose a few journalists that Mozes could hire immediately. In exchange he wanted Netanyahu to promote legislation that would change Israel Hayom’s status from a freebie newspaper to one that is sold, in order to restore Yedioth Ahronoth’s previous dominant status.