Former Editor of Israeli News Outlet Admits He Was Pressured to Give Netanyahu Favorable Coverage

'If I am summoned to testify by the police, I will definitely say what happened there,' Yinon Magal tells Army Radio

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Yinon Magal during the 2015 Knesset elections
Yinon Magal during the 2015 Knesset elections Credit: David Bachar

A former editor in chief of an Israeli news outlet admitted on Thursday that he was pressured to give favorable coverage to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

Yinon Magal, the ex-editor of Walla News and a former lawmaker, said during an interview with Army Radio that “There was pressure,” after he was asked if the "spirit" of Shaul Elovitch, the owner of the website, "was present in the editorial offices.”

After the interview, Magal tweeted that, “For the record, the pressure applied was not only about Netanyahu but for many other politicians too.”

>> Israel Police recommend charging Netanyahu with bribery in two cases

Magal left Walla before the 2015 Knesset election. He said he has not been summoned by police to provide his version, but added that “if I am summoned to testify by the police, I will definitely say what happened there.”

“Pressure came from below too, but it was not for Netanyahu’s good,” he said. Magal said he thought such pressure was applied during other periods when he was not editor in chief.

After leaving Walla, Magal served in the Knesset as a member of Habayit Hayehudi party. He resigned after being accused of sexual harassment by a former employee, but no charges were ever filed against him and the police closed the case because they decided no crime had ever been committed.

As to the police investigations against Netanyahu and recommendations to indict him, Magal said: “Bibi doesn’t give. People around him know. Bibi knows to take, he doesn’t know how to give. [Arnon] Milchan didn’t get anything from him.” Magal was referring to Netanyahu by his nickname.

As for the Case 2000 concerning Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes, Magal said “everyone knows the truth, we know that what they coordinated there did not happen. Bibi saved the country frm the dictatorship of the tyrant, Noni Mozes.”

Ties between Elovitch and the Communications Ministry - a portfolio Netanyahu previously held - are under a police investigation. Police are examining whether the relationship between the Ministry and Israeli telecom giant Bezeq was too close due to Netanyahu’s friendship with Elovitch, the company's controlling shareholder.



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