Bennett, Netanyahu drag wives into latest political spat
(Abir Sultan, Pool via AP)
Israeli Education Minister and Chairman of the Jewish Home Naftali Bennett lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday after an Israeli TV report alleged that the prime minister asked Walla news site to publish a negative article on Bennett’s wife.
According to the Hadashot report, Netanyahu held talks with the Bezeq media owner Shaul Elovitch, asking him to publish a negative article on its subsidiary news organization Walla criticizing Naftali Bennett's wife Gilat for working as a chef in non-Kosher restaurants. A request which was apparently denied.
Bennett attacked Netanyahu on Twitter following the report.
“This is a despicable and cowardly act. Shame on you,” Bennett wrote. “I married Gilat, a wonderful woman, an Israeli from a secular and ethical home, and together we established a wonderful religious Zionist home.”
“Do not apologize to me, I’m not interested. Apologize to my wife,” the Jewish Home leader added.
Netanyahu’s Likud party responded to Bennett, accusing him, in turn, of attacking Netanyahu’s wife.
“There is no limit to Bennett’s hypocrisy, it is he who should apologize. Many journalists know that from the moment he left Netanyahu's office, Bennett did not stop briefing against Sara Netanyahu and slandering her at every opportunity,” Likud said. “Anyone who has butter on his head, should not go out in the sun.”
Earlier this week, Israeli police recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara for bribery and other offenses, the third such recommendation against the premier in recent months, in a case centered on allegations of regulatory benefits granted telecommunications giant Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage from a related media company.
The case, dubbed "Case 4,000" to differentiate it from a slew of other investigations into the affairs of the prime minister and his inner circle, centers on allegations that Netanyahu made concessions benefiting Bezeq's controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch in exchange for positive media coverage of him and his wife Sara on Elovitch's popular news website Walla.
The "main suspicion is that the PM took bribes and acted in a conflict of interest by intervening and acting in regulatory decisions that favor Shaul Elovitch and the Bezeq Group," police said in a statement on Sunday morning.
Netanyahu "bluntly intervened, sometimes on a daily basis, with the content being published on the Walla news website, and sought to influence the appointment of senior employees (editors and reporters), while using their ties to Shaul and Iris Elovitch," police added.
Police said there was evidence to charge Netanyahu with bribery, fraud, breach of trust and unlawful acceptance.
They recommended Sara Netanyahu face charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of evidence.
Police have recommended Elovitch also be charged for his role in the alleged bribery scheme.
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