WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly criticized the police Wednesday for recruiting his confidants as state witnesses in the corruption cases against him.
"They’re taking people they claim committed some offense," Netanyahu wrote in Hebrew on his Facebook page.
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"They take them into detention, terrify them and tell them: ‘Your life is over, your family’s life is over. We’ll take everything from you, including your freedom. You want to get out of this? There’s one way – smear Netanyahu. It doesn’t matter if you tell the truth – the main thing is you smear Netanyahu.’"
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The prime minister repeated comments made by his associates earlier this week, including "when there is something real, there is no need for a single state witness, and when there is nothing, not a thousand state witnesses will help."
Nir Hefetz, a former chief spokesman for Netanyahu, made a deal with the police Sunday to turn state’s evidence in a bribery case involving Israeli telecom giant Bezeq. In the case, dubbed Case 4000, Hefetz allegedly liaised between the Netanyahus and Bezeq’s Walla news website. According to the police, Hefetz arranged for flattering items on the couple and censorship of less flattering items, in return for benefits for Bezeq.
Hefetz agreed to hand over recordings of Netanyahu and wife Sara as part of his deal with the police. In return for testifying against Netanyahu, Hefetz will not stand trial, face prison time or be fined. While he testifies, he will be housed at an isolated location.
Hefetz is one of a number of Netanyahu confidants to turn against the prime minister in five corruption cases plaguing him.