Four Netanyahu Supporters Charged With Harassing Witnesses in Ongoing Corruption Trial

This is the first case of its kind since Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial began in May 2020

Yael Freidson
Yael Freidson
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Witness Hadas Klein testifies at the Jerusalem District Court, on September 13, 2022.
Witness Hadas Klein testifies at the Jerusalem District Court, on September 13, 2022.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Yael Freidson
Yael Freidson

Israel’s state prosecutor indicted four supporters of incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday for harassing witnesses testifying against him in his corruption trial.

The indictments, the first of their kind since the trial began, were filed with the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court and describe various incidents of harassment targeting Nir Hefetz and Hadas Klein, the two witnesses testifying against Netanyahu.

According to the indictments, 69-year-old Tel Aviv resident Herzl Golan began posting about Hefetz on Twitter from the day he began testifying. One tweet states that “to rely on him is like relying on Nazis who annihilated millions of Jews,” while another reads “we will celebrate the day you die.” Golan also posted several photos of the state’s witness with captions like “Die” and “The one who betrayed is in danger.”

Witness Nir Hefetz at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, in June.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The second indictment accuses Shmuel Tal, 21, of sending personal Facebook messages to Hefetz the day after he began testifying in court.

Regarding the harassment of Klein, one indictment has been filed against 73-year-old Shalom Azrad of Rosh Ha’ayin, who allegedly tweeted attacks during her testimony.

One such tweet in Hebrew read: “You corrupt rat, witch, evildoer, liar, swindler, racist a lie has no legs you odious scoundrel Hadas Klein your day is near you evil agent of the police you’re finished (sic).” He also directed curse words and invectives at her.

The second indictment regarding Klein was filed against 58-year-old Shimon Atias of Carmiel, who said on Twitter, among other things, that he wished she would die, and alleged that she was lying in her testimony. He also implied that she was suffering from a terminal illness.

The indictments allege that the tweets were posted to harass the witnesses regarding their statements to the police and testimony they provided or were preparing to provide in court.

The state prosecutor is also weighing charges against journalist Eli Tzipori.

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