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New Scandal Over Benjamin Netanyahu and Shedon Adelson: The Israeli PM Accused of Back Stabbing His Supporter In a Secret Deal With Arnon Mozes

PM Netanyahu allegedly asked publisher Noni Mozes, Adelson rival, to be less critical of him in exchange for reducing the circulation of Adelson’s newspaper “Israel Hayom”.

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Did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stab his friend and backer Sheldon Adelson in the back? Apparently so if the new scandal is true. The Israeli Prime Minister stands accused of negotiating a secret deal with Israeli media tycoon Arnon “Noni” Mozes, the biggest rival to American billionaire and casino Magnate Sheldon Adelson in the small world of Israeli print journalism. The deal, which was caught on tape, came to light on Sunday, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

According to Channel Two’s report, back in 2009 when Netanyahu was gearing up for new elections which saw him return to the Prime Minister’s Office after a decade, he made a deal promising to work to limit the circulation of the free daily Hebrew newspaper “Yisrael Hayom” (Israel Today) which is owned by Billionaire Sheldon Adelson. In return, Netanyhu asked for less harsh coverage in rival Hebrew  daily Yedioth Ahronoth, which is owned by the Mozes family.

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The surprising thing here is that Adelson has been one of Netanyahu’s biggest supporters and his paper is seen as a backdoor for promoting the platform of Israel’s political right. It is free and loses money as a result. Benjamin Netanyahu has been critical of attempts by his opposition to pass laws against the distribution of free nespapers because of this.

A source cited by Channel 2 News quoted Mozes as saying “He [Netanyahu] promised me that Yisrael Hayom wouldn’t publish a weekend edition.” The Hebrew daily Haaretz said that Mozes believed the deal would save Yedioth, which has suffered a sharp decline in circulation ever since Yisrael Hayom launched in 2007. At the end of 2009, Yisrael Hayom began publishing a weekend edition whose circulation reached the hundreds of thousands.

Arnon Mozes was questioned under caution about the allegations by the authorities last week and released under certain conditions.

Israel’s Channel 10 reported that Benjamin Netanyahu made the deal because he was desperate to prevent Yedioth Ahronoth from publishing a story about his son Yair. The investigators reportedly have recordings documenting the contacts between the media mogul and Netanyahu.

The taped conversations were brought to the attention of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit last spring, about 8 months ago. Mendelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan were not certain that  these activities broke Israeli law, Channel 2 reported.

In August, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he was considering promoting a bill which would make it illegal to record conversations without the consent from all the parties involved.

Netanyahu’s lawyer, Adv. Jacob Weinroth, stated, “There is no trace of a crime in the acts attributed to Netanyahu in media reports. Any intelligent person realized that if you give a close friend cigars as a present, no shred of anything illegal is involved.” Weinroth said he heard Netanyahu’s answers in to the questions and that he believes “when these answers are published it will be clear to everyone listening that there is no concern or trace of a crime.”



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