Yoav Baram – Why Noni Moses must turn state’s evidence
This article translated from the original Hebrew into English by Yoav Baram.
In 2014, Shula Zaken turned state’s evidence and testified against Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Zaken was Olmert’s trusted confidant and personal secretary for years, following her testimony Ehud Olmert is now sitting in Jail for a bribery charge. During the same year Adi Sheleg also turned state’s evidence and testified against Nochi Dankner – one of the most powerful businessmen in Israel. Sheleg was the broker who made forbidden purchases for Dankner in the stock market and following his testimony Dankner is now sitting in Jail for running stocks.
Both Zaken and Sheleg were small fry compared to the gigantic sharks they’ve hooked, and both of them didn’t have much to lose (again – compared to the giants they’ve turned against).
Noni Moses is neither Shula Zaken nor Adi Sheleg; he is the publisher of Israel’s widest read newspaper “Yediot Achronot”. A wealthy and extremely powerful man with huge reach over the Israeli market and public opinion. Therefore Moses has a lot to lose in the Netanyahu recording fiasco, let alone when it seems the recordings clearly implicate him in negotiating with Netanyahu over benefits, a sort of a quid pro quo, that will benefit both Moses paper, and Netanyahu. There is no need for a degree in law to understand that, all you need to do is read the tapes transcripts – some of which have already been leaked to the press.
Moses has one escape route to save his skin and what’s left of the public’s trust in his news empire and that is to testify against Prime Minister Netanyahu. On paper, Moses should have all the motivation he needs to turn state’s witness – not only he and Netanyahu never liked each other, and not only that the tapes already make a strong case against him – they were also taped by Netanyahu’s own instructions and without Moses knowledge.
This massive fuckup by Netanyahu – who will probably regret the fact that he asked his chief of staff Harry Haro to record their conversation – is a huge motivator by itself since everyone including Moses himself knows the number one rule in the mob – never record anything. The second rule is never rat.
Since Netanyahu broke the first rule there is no reason for Moses not to break the second one. Much like Salvatore “Pussy” Bonpensiero from “The Sopranos”, Moses is already deep in the hole, the only question is will he take that boat ride with Netanyahu or not.
Moses must turn state’s evidence not only because he has so much to lose and he’d want to save his skin. He must turn state’s evidence because so much is at stake – both on the constitutional plain as well as the public’s trust in the country’s institutions and its media. The fact that for years Moses concocted deals based on his own personal agenda which in turn impacted the public’s opinion only emphasizes and strengthens the need for a significant correction and cleaning of the stables. Moses of course can’t atone for all his sins, for that you need a strong judiciary system and not the flaccid and forgiving one we have here in Israel. But in turning state’s evidence he could certainly start atoning – even a little bit – by opening Pandora’s box and tell the Israeli public exactly how the ‘only democracy in the middle east’ runs.
No one believed Olmert and Dankner will go to jail, and even after their conviction it’s still very hard to believe Netanyahu will step down from his chair, not to mention convicted of a felony that will send him to prison. This whole affair sounds like a very trippy episode of “House of cards”, but it’s easy to forget that so did Olmert’s affair, Dankner’s affair, the U-boat affair that is still under police examination, the Weizman affair, the Hirshzon affair and countless others that made waves in Israel.
And now Noni Moses has a chance to leave even a greater impact on the country’s future. All it takes is one good deal, one small signature and one healthy drive for revenge against the man who secretly recorded him. Just don’t be (a) Pussy.
I’m a 32 years old blogger who lives in Tel-Aviv. My writing often mixes contemporary culture with a variety of topics; whether social, economical or political, as well as any other topics that I feel important enough (and sometimes ridiculous enough) to discuss as a society. My aim is to pack as much knowledge in an accurate, fun and easy to read way.