The suspended director of the Communications Ministry Shlomo Filber early Wednesday morning signed an agreement with the State Prosecutor’s office to provide incriminating details against Prime Minister Netanyahu in file 4,000, a.k.a. the Bezeq affair.
In return for avoiding a prison sentence and possibly even a fine, Filber—until recently a close associate of the Prime Minister—is expected to nail down the police assertion that in return for Bezeq’s subsidiary news website Walla’s favorable coverage of Netanyahu, Communications Ministry regulators gave Bezeq preferential treatment in order to increase the communications giant’s profits – enough to enable majority stock holder Shaul Elovitch to repay the huge sums he had borrowed in order to gain control of the Bezeq empire.
Filber will start testifying to police on Wednesday about Netanyahu’s connections with business interests while Filber was the director of the communications ministry and Netanyahu was Communications Minister. The suspended director apparently told investigator he didn’t think anything he had done was wrong, and he would tell police everything, without covering anyone’s role. Obviously, the information his lawyers have shared with the prosecution ahead of the deal was enough to turn him from one of the three main suspects in the corruption case into the key witness against Elovitch and Netanyahu.
While Netanyahu’s coalition partners and the majority of his own party have so far not criticized the troubled Netanyahu (with the exception of Naftali Bennett, who wondered aloud who needs so much pink champagne and so many expensive cigars) – on Wednesday morning, suspended Likud MK Oren Hazan called on the PM to recuse himself and appoint a replacement. He told Israel Radio that others in the party are also in favor of replacing the leader, but prefer not to speak out.
Coalition chairman Dudi Amsalem (Likud) on Wednesday referred to the latest developments in the Bezeq investigation in a style one does not readily expect of the second most senior official in parliament, saying, “A state witness is an inferior thing, a person who informs to save himself.” He also suggested turning state witness “is something immoral on the social level, you have to use a state witness only for very difficult things. My daughter will not marry a state witness, no citizen of the State of Israel will open a grocery store with a state witness.”