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Netanyahu blasts ‘fake news’ on police interrogation in corruption case

The Israeli prime minister slams reports that his wife, Sara, refused to confront state’s witnesses during police questioning • That “never happened” and media “keeps lying” to the public, he says • He reiterates “nothing will come of” the corruption probes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to supporters at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 18, 2015, after general elections with Netanyahu claiming victory. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to supporters at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 18, 2015, after general elections with Netanyahu claiming victory. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday blasted media reports on the latest round of questioning in the corruption case surrounding him and his family, calling them ”fake news.”

Israel Police Major Crimes Unit investigators questioned Netanyahu, his wife, Sara, and their son Yair on Monday over their allegedly illicit dealings with Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications company.

It was the second time the prime minister was questioned in the investigation, dubbed ”Case 4,000.”

The case centers on potential conflicts of interest and illegalities involving Israeli telecom corporation Bezeq and the Bezeq-owned Walla news website. The police allege that Bezeq controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch ensured positive news coverage for Netanyahu by Walla in exchange for the prime minister promoting government regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Bezeq.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a media witch hunt.

He was questioned at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem for four hours on Monday. Sara and Yair Netanyahu were quizzed separately for about six hours at the Major Crimes Unit’s headquarters in Lod, outside Tel Aviv.

Soon after Monday’s sessions concluded, conflicting reports surfaced, some alleging the police staged a confrontation between Sara Netanyahu and Nir Hefetz, a former spokesman of Netanyahu’s who has turned state’s witness. Other reports suggested that Sara Netanyahu had refused the police’s request to confront Hefetz and a second state’s witness, former Communications Ministry Director General Shlomo Filber.

Netanyahu posted a video on Facebook, writing: ”Here is another example of the daily fake news: Various reports and commentators are reporting on confrontations with state’s witnesses, something that never happened. They [the media] keep lying to you every evening. Just one big fake evening news. I am certain, just as I was certain after the previous ones [police interrogations] that nothing will come of this because nothing happened.”

Ending his Facebook message with a reference to the coming Passover holiday, Netanyahu said ”I will celebrate this holiday with great joy, with great confidence, with a lot of charoset [sweet traditional Passover dish] and zero maror [bitter herbs].”

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