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Netanyahu appears in Jerusalem court ahead of testimony by former aide


Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare appearance in court on Tuesday at the beginning of a hearing that was supposed to include the start of testimony by Nir Hefetz, a state prosecution star witness. 

Netanyahu was accompanied by Likud MKs Galit Distal Atbaryan, Shlomo Karhi and Amir Ohana.

Hefetz, a former aide to Netanyahu, was expected to begin his testimony Tuesday morning against the former prime minister.

Some experts call Hefetz the most critical witness in the trial because he is one of only two witnesses who can connect Netanyahu to the alleged media bribery charges for Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla Affair.

Shlomo Filber, the other witness and another former top Netanyahu aide, will mostly provide a narrative only on the Communications Ministry’s side of the affair, whereas Hefetz is able to connect the dots on both the ministry side and the Walla media side.

There was a last-minute twist on Monday afternoon, when the defense asked the court to postpone Hefetz’s testimony by one week after the prosecution disclosed it had collected surprising new testimony from Case 1000 witness Hadas Klein.

 The prosecution said that Klein approached them in mid-October with new evidence against Netanyahu, which multiple media reports said related to jewelry worth tens of thousands of shekels that Sara Netanyahu requested from Klein’s boss, billionaire Arnon Milchan and billionaire James Packer.

 Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) arrives for a court hearing on corruption charges, on November 16, 2021 in Jerusalem.  (credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES) Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) arrives for a court hearing on corruption charges, on November 16, 2021 in Jerusalem. (credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Netanyahu’s spokesman rejected the new allegations as inaccurate, and said his lawyers filed a motion to the court against the prosecution and law enforcement for alleged improper leaks to the media.

Because Klein’s testimony relates to the Illegal Gifts Affair (Case 1000) and not to Case 4000, the court may well proceed with Hefetz as planned, but the judges said they would give the defense a chance to argue the issue on Tuesday morning.





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