April 11, 2021

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Lead Netanyahu Trial Judge Contracts Coronavirus

3 min read
Lead Netanyahu Trial Judge Contracts Coronavirus

In recent news, Judge Rivkah Friedman-Feldman, belonging to the Jerusalem District Court, contracted the coronavirus. She is the current lead on a panel that handles the public corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister. 

On Wednesday, a spokesperson from the court gave a statement regarding this situation. They stated that the Judge will stay in quarantine until the first of January. According to them, she is currently only experiencing a few light symptoms of the virus. 

Moreover, the spokesperson further stated that an epidemiological probe was carried out. However, it is still undetermined whether other judges need to be quarantined and tested, as well. The others were also on the Netanyahu panel but, no meeting had been held since a public hearing in the first week of December. 

Even now, it is not clear whether Friedman-Feldman’s current or future condition will have any impact on the hearing that has been scheduled for the 13th of January, 2021. It is supposed to be the last pretrial date before the witnesses are called, starting from the month of February. 

Earlier on Wednesday, a range of indictments were issued by the state prosecution regarding the Bezeq case, which took place at the Tel Aviv District Court. This case in question is parallel to Case 4000, which is against the Prime Minister of the country. Benjamin Netanyahu will, consequently, appear before the Jerusalem District Court. 

The decision taken on Wednesday confirmed that the announcement made by the Tel Aviv Economic Crimes Division in September of 2019. The authority had stated that they intended to indict Shaul Elovitch, the previous owner of Bezeq, along with his son and a few other officials belonging to YES and Bezeq. These people had come under scrutiny on account of reports of fraud, illegal reporting, obstruction of justice, and insider trading. 

Furthermore, the prosecution has also made the decision to indict Yediot Ahronot in Case 2000, along with Walla in Case 4000. 

Originally, the matter of Bezeq case revolved around a short story that took place in Tel Aviv. An illegal merger had taken place between YES and Bezeq. It was deemed as illegal because Shaul Elovitch had vested interests in both and therefore, used illegal messengers to manipulate the merger talks in his favor. He was supposed to stay away from all meetings related to the merger on account of a conflict of interest. 

The prosecution also made sure to indict Amikam Shorer, Linor Yochelman, YES CEO Ron Ayalon, Miki Neuman, along with sub-entities of Eurocom being controlled by Elovitch. 

It had been Yochelman’s job to ensure that Elovitch did not receive any information pertaining to the merger talks. He had to make sure that the meetings related to the mergers were free of any influence from the former owner of Bezeq, due to his conflict of interest. However, it was claimed that Yochelman purposely leaked information to Elovtich, thereby giving him a way to manipulate the outcomes. It has been alleged that it was the influence of the former owner that resulted in negotiations leaning in his favor. 

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