Media reports of the details of alleged conversations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yediot Ahronot publisher Arnon Mozes definitely reveal talk of a proposed bribe, former State Prosecutor Eran Shendar said yesterday.
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"If we can assume that what has been reported in the media is true, and the recording discussed favorable news coverage in return for the cancellation of a freebie, then what we have is definitely talk of proposed bribery," Shendar told IDF radio in an interview.
He cautioned, however, that making a definitive judgement depended on how the things were said. "It is not sufficient to read the transcripts of the recordings, because the music is important here," he said.
Regarding the allegations that wealthy businessmen, among them movie producer Arnon Milchen, were asked to buy luxury goods such as cigars and champagne for Netanyahu and his wife, Shendar said deciding whether such as action was criminal depended very much on the relationship between the giver of the gifts and the receiver.
"If we are good friends and you give me gifts and we are in touch occasionally and I also give you gifts, there is nothing wrong with it," Shendar said. "But if the relationship is different – if I give gifts to the whole world but never receive any – and the relationship also involves business or something beyond friendship, then it is a different ballgame and possibly even a criminal one."
"If we are talking about hundreds of thousands of shekels of cigars and the like from someone who has an interest in Channel 10, then nothing more needs to be said. It is a conflict of interest."
Shendar added that the Netanyahu-Mozes recording reminded him of a conversation he once had with Amnon Dankner, a previous editor of Ma'ariv newspaper and the Justice Ministry spokesman.
"He uttered a sentence that I have never forgotten," Shendar told the radio interviewer. "He looked me in the eyes and said: 'We are predators. Give us our helping of meat and we will leave you alone. If you don't give, we'll eat you alive.'"
"It was a game being played by politicians, journalists and civil servants which we know from long before today," Shendar added.