Netanyahu Secretary Admits to Shredding Docs Before Bennett Took Office

Others who worked in the Prime Minister's Office have also previously indicated that documents were shredded before Netanyahu made way for Bennett

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
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Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Former Cabinet Secretary Tzahi Braverman, last year.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Former Cabinet Secretary Tzahi Braverman, last year.Credit: Gali Tibbon/Reuters
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet secretary admitted to shredding documents that were kept in the Prime Minister's Office before Naftali Bennett took office, in a recording obtained by Haaretz.

On the tape, Tzahi Braverman is heard saying: “Before I left I even took some documents out of the safe, gave them to my deputy and told her to shred them right away. She shredded them, and that was the end of it.” Others who worked in the Prime Minister's Office have also previously indicated that documents were shredded before Netanyahu made way for Bennett.

Braverman denied the confession, saying "It did not happen. Every action I took in the course of my duties was done lawfully, and any other insinuation is false and sinful to the truth."

Netanyahu's Likud also denied the report, calling it "fake news," and said that Braverman referred in the recording to his personal documents and copies of government papers, not to original documents, which are digitally archived anyway.

Likud's response named the report's author, Michael Hauser Tov, as the son of MK Zvi Hauser, a coalition member opposing Likud and Netanyahu, and suggested a political agenda.

"We expect Haaretz to publish an immediate apology for this false publication,"Likud added.

Meanwhile, the state prosecutor’s office submitted on Monday its response to a petition from the Movement for Quality Government demanding an investigation into the shredding of documents in the PMO.

“For some time, the attorney general, the state prosecutor, the police and the Prime Minister’s Office have been working to clarify the facts,” the response to the High Court said. “To this end, certain actions have been taken. However, a professional review is still incomplete, and we estimate that this will take three more months.”

In June, after the Bennett government was sworn in, Haaretz reported that documents that were kept in safes in the PMO were shredded, in violation of the law. Employees at the PMO said that Netanyahu had instructed them to shred the documents, but it's unclear how many papers were shredded or what they contained. The safes where they were kept are located in “the aquarium” – the sterile area where the prime minister and his most senior aides sit.

Ruth Avramovitz, the state archivist, is tasked with checking which documents are missing, but has ignored inquiries from Haaretz and other media outlets.

According to a cabinet decision and civil service regulations, all documents kept in the Prime Minister’s Office, including private documents, are supposed to be preserved in the archive of the Prime Minister’s Office. Some of the documents that were kept in the safes were transferred to the archive as required.

Last week, Netanyahu’s former media advisor Nir Hefetz testified that the former prime minister frequently shredded documents during his tenure. “Netanyahu shreds everything,” he said. “If there was a shopping list, he would shred that too.”

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