A retired High Court judge in Israel, Eliyahu Matza, said on Wednesday that there are “criminal aspects” to the talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and media mogul Arnon Mozes, Haaretz has reported.
“This is an invalid connection between a government and newspaper,” Matza told Israel Radio. “It is forbidden in every way. This is against journalistic ethics; it is against democratic values. Is there a criminal aspect? Yes, I think so.”
The judge also described the deal between Mozes, the publisher of one of the best-selling Israeli newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth, as a “perfect example” of a bribe. Mozes, it is alleged, offered to employ journalists hand-picked by Netanyahu in return for legislation to prevent rival newspapers like Israel Hayom being given away free of charge. “Employing journalists chosen by the prime minister is absolutely unacceptable,” insisted Matza.
According to a report in Haaretz, Mozes also vowed “to do everything” to help Netanyahu remain as prime minister “as long as he wished”.