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Israeli opposition leader Lapid testifies in Netanyahu trial

The Yesh Atid party chairman took the stand as part of Case 1000.

Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid at the Jerusalem District Court, June 12, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid at the Jerusalem District Court, June 12, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Yesh Atid Party Chairman Yair Lapid testified in the corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

The leader of the opposition arrived at the Jerusalem District Court in the morning to take the stand as part of Case 1000—one of three cases brought against Netanyahu in the trial. Under Case 1000, the prime minister is charged with fraud and breach of trust.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid arrives at the Jerusalem District Court, June 12, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

According to the indictment, Netanyahu asked then-Finance Minister Lapid in 2013 to assist in the personal affairs of Arnon Milchan. The Israeli businessman allegedly gave the Netanyahus expensive gifts in exchange for amendments to a law granting tax exemptions to immigrants and returning residents.

Under cross-examination by Netanyahu’s lawyer Amit Hadad at the beginning of Monday’s hearing, Lapid said that he knew about the close relationship between Netanyahu and Milchan but that he “didn’t know then about the issue with the gifts.”

Hadad identified a contradiction in Lapid’s version of events when he “spoke twice” with Netanyahu about Milchan’s request to extend the tax exemption. At the hearing, Lapid said that they met at the Prime Minister’s Residence at Balfour Street and also at the entrance to the Cabinet room on Givat Ram. However, Lapid claimed during a 2017 investigation that both incidents occurred at Balfour Street.

After the judge asked Lapid about the contradiction, he said: “It was a marginal incident so I didn’t remember where it was, but the content is important because when a prime minister addresses me regarding a tax matter, you remember the conversation and the content, not the place.”

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