In part one I introduced the readership to Moshik Kovarsky, a member of Project 315 steering committee and the path that led to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indictment, consequently, unseating him. Here are many more details and the conclusion of it all.
Though the reader may not be familiar with all the names mentioned herein, this is how Israel’s legal establishment and the media unseated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is a lesson to take heed of.
Project 315 is fighting the good fight to prove that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unfairly unseated by nefarious actors in the legal and media circles. In the meantime, Project 315, made up of a group of ordinary citizens who care deeply for their country, excellent work is receiving recognition in the United States. On February 9, 2022, on The Joyce Kaufman Radio Show, 850WFTL, South Florida, Moshik Kovarsky, Project 315 steering committee member, had the opportunity to discuss with the host, Joyce Kaufman, the political turmoil that is currently taking place in Israel and what Project 315 is doing to unravel the malfeasance.
The Dismantling of Israel’s Democracy
Benjamin Netanyahu is not the relevant issue; but he is the direct target. The real issue is the dismantling of Israel’s democracy using very dangerous methods.
When the political actors realized that the prosecution cannot ‘get’ Netanyahu based on state witnesses, they waited for anther opportunity, which came at the end of 2018, with the end of the government’s term. Political games began, all based on the forecast that the legal system machine would topple Netanyahu and they wanted to be ready to rearrange for the next day.
At the end of 2018 the material from the police was summarized and was ready to be submitted to AG Mandelblit to decide on a possible Netanyahu indictment. Additionally, Mandelblit partook in a forum in which all former attorneys general, judges and prominent people in Israel’s legal establishment participated.
AG Mandelblit attended the summit in order to receive permission to file the indictment against Netanyahu. He needed reassurances that submitting the indictment would not be seen as a political intervention. However, it was a political intervention because Netanyahu’s attorneys could not formulate their client’s defense before the imminent election, therefore, the public would get to hear one side only. AG Mandelblit received the ‘go ahead’ so long it was not too close to Election Day.
Three months before the election they already had all the prosecution material while the defense had no defense material to appear in court.
In January 2019 the assault on Netanyahu began. The reporters who were covering the legal indictment process against Netanyahu received freshly leaked information every day.
Besides being a PM, Netanyahu was also an ordinary citizen and according to the law, there is no right for anybody to leak information on a citizen from the investigation room. Therefore, the leaks were a crime that warrant three years imprisonment. However, they totally ignored the law and every night anonymous sources within the prosecution submitted material to the reporters that was out of context, full of lies and falsification and fabrication of reality. All of which was incriminating to Netanyahu.
For three long months, from January 1, 2019 till Election Day, on April 13, 2019, the police and/or the prosecution provided vapid and baseless leaks which, in turn, the media bombarded the population with. That was totally illegal, immoral and unethical to which the public was exposed.
The purpose was to “stick it” to Netanyahu in the public arena. People listened to the tabloids, to the ongoing smear and many simply “bought into it.”
Netanyahu was fighting the prosecution rather than his opposition.
To add insult to injury, in the middle of February 2019, AG Mandelblit happened to ‘bump’ into Channel 12 news anchor Dana Weiss who interviewed him. The interview was about the pending indictment and Mandelblit inappropriately damaged Netanyahu’s reputation.
As for Netanyahu, each time he claimed innocence he was blamed for attacking the legal authorities and disregarding the law, just as happened to President Trump.
At the end of February 2019, AG Mandelblit published a quasi-indictment, ‘a letter of suspicion,’ subject to a hearing. The leaks continued, full blast.
On April 6, 2019, three days before the election, the first election after 4 years, Israel TV channel 11 announcers stated that sources close to AG Mandelblit believe that the case 2000 felony indictment, according to which publisher and editor-in-chief, Arnon (Noni) Mozes and Netanyahu made a ‘deal’, warrants many years incarceration as punishment. And the public heard this claim three days before the election. Despite this smear, the Rightwing coalition, less Avigdor Lieberman who defected and Naftali Bennet who did not pass the required threshold, received 60 mandates. One can assume that without this smear so close to the election, Israel’s Rightwing coalition would have gained more than enough mandates to remain in power with a stable coalition moving forward.
And this was the essence of the coup, by judicial and media schemes, that took place in Israel with which Prime Minister Netanyahu was unseated. It was a total brainwash that falsified the will of the voters, to Netanyahu’s subsequent inability to form a coalition.
That led to two more elections that did not bring about a majority Rightwing coalition for Netanyahu to form a government. After the third election, a one year unity government, with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party and him serving as alternate Prime Minister, was formed. That coalition fell apart. Then came the 4th election in which Netanyahu almost won again, while all through these years his detractors kept on insisting that Netanyahu was guilty as they have charged him.
The Deal of The Century
The ‘Deal of the Century‘ was a roadmap to solve the Middle East conflict.
The ‘Deal of the Century’ was US President Donald Trump’s peace plan for Israel and the entire region, which in a way, paved the way for the successful Abraham Accords.
On January 28, 2020, before the COVID era began and just before Israel’s 3rd 2020 election, Netanyahu was on this very important matter visit to Washington DC White House, to sign the ‘Deal of the Century‘ document with President Trump, which could have been a major positive development for Israel and the region as a whole.
At the same time Netanyahu was looking into seeking executive immunity privilege from the indictments. Realizing he did not have enough votes, while in Washington DC he announced he would not seek immunity after all.
While these two leaders were in the White House signing this historic deal, AG Mandelblit rushed his clerk to the court, before closing time, to submit Netanyahu’s indictment file. Subsequently, the citizens of Israel saw on the evening news a split TV screen; on one side Netanyahu and Trump in the White House signing the historical ‘Deal of the Century’ peace plan and on the other side of the split screen AG Mandelblit gleefully announcing the filing of the indictment against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the court.
That was a despicable show for many Israelis.
The indictment was submitted and it went into pretrial mode. With the many inaccuracies and falsifications the court took nine months to consider the indictment.
In December 2020, the court came out with a decision that the indictment was incorrect and required fixing.
The indictment consists of case 1000, alleging breach of trust involving valuable presents and gifts received by Netanyahu and his wife throughout the years from several wealthy acquaintances; case 2000, a breach of trust, deals with recorded conversations Netanyahu had with Arnon (Noni) Mozes, chairman and editor of Yedioth Ahronoth, one of the largest circulation newspapers in Israel, in which Netanyahu and Mozes discussed legislation that could harm Yedioth’s major competitor, Israel Hayom; case 4000, relates to telecommunications company Bezeq’s relationship with its regulator, the Communication Ministry, at the time headed by Netanyahu and considered to be the most serious case, of bribery charge, breach of trust and favorable coverage.
The absurdity of it all is that the accusers claim that a bribe deal was signed between Netanyahu and Shaul Elovitch, the owner of Eurocom Group, one of the largest private holding groups in Israel and a shareholder in Bezeq, for Netanyahu to receive exceptional and positive coverage from the Walla website, a portal that provides news and in return Netanyahu gave Elovitch a regulatory favor worth 1.8 billion Shekels.
As it is now known, Walla was number 14 on Netanyahu’s priorities’ list while all of case 4000 supporting evidence appeared to be rather a witch-hunt and state witnesses could not substantiate evidence as delineated by the court.
In December 2020, the court told the prosecution, you cannot claim that Netanyahu received, in general, exceptional media coverage. Metaphorically, you are accusing a person of being a bank robber but you cannot point out what bank he in fact robbed. We need precise evidence, dates, places.
The Story of Project 315
“Why 315,” I asked?
In order to immediately provide evidence, the prosecution rushed to create an appendix to the indictment listing 315 items, in which over a period of four years and two months Netanyahu, through his spokesperson, asked Walla to publish an item, to remove or change an item, which they agreed to do and thus the name Project 315 came about.
All that was included in the final indictment that was submitted to the court on January 3, 2021 and the hearing was due to begin in early April 2021, which it did.
The person who started Project 315 is Guy Levy, a company owner from the city of Beer Sheva, in Israel’s south. Guy reviewed the 315 items, read the defense responses that were submitted a month earlier, and he checked one item in particular.
The item was a request to write about first lady Sarah Netanyahu who was elected in 2012 by Forbes Magazine as the ‘Woman of the Year‘ in Israel, together with a list of other prominent Israeli women. However, Guy realized that this announcement was not specific to Walla; this nomination was published in several other publications, in some Mrs. Netanyahu was even described much more favorably than in Walla. This was the first falsification. There was no exceptional coverage that Walla provided here.
Guy realized that there was a need to check the other 314 items factuality and he could not do it alone. He approached Moshik Kovarsky, an entrepreneur and technologist from the city of Ness Ziona, in central Israel, with whom he had some past interactions. Moshik agreed to help put together all the data needed.
Guy then asked for volunteers, through social media outlets. Within a few days 50 volunteers – lawyers, professionals, factory workers, to name some backgrounds – were ready to help Guy and Moshik in any way needed and possible.
Then Dr. Adi Szabo, a Psychologist from the city of Haifa, in Israel’s north, who met Moshik at a rally, volunteered to help and she brought along with her Moshe Mallal, a hi-tech professional from Matan, a community in the Sharon region; both joined as members of the Project 315 steering committee, founded almost a year ago as of this writing.
Their first task was to go over all the 315 items in the 4000 indictment case. What they found was that half of the items never really happened. Moshik thinks the writers of the items lied out of mostly negligence.
What really took place was that the prosecution had in its possession all WhatsApp messages from Ilan Yeshua, Walla’s CEO and a Netanyahu hater, that contained sentiment he hid from his boss, Shaul Elovitch. Ilan Yeshua tried to give his employees all kinds of excuses that his actions were done due to being pressured, but in fact he was lying. For instance, Walla’s CEO would get a message from Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu’s spokesperson, on a story to publish, which was also published by other publications; some he published and some he did not, though he promised he would publish the story. In some cases Hefetz asked for a published item to be removed because it was incorrect, but Yeshua did not remove it, leaving the incorrect item on the website for people to read.
The prosecution looked at the exchange of messages between Walla and Netanyahu’s office and listed them as indictment items though they were never granted or realized.
The other half of the 315 items are simply mundane, content that was published by other publications as well.
The Project 315 steering committee arrived at the conclusion that during four years and two months, only six items among the 315 listed could possibly be an indictment challenge.
The trial began. Ilan Yeshua was on the witness stand for four months and throughout his testimonial he either contradicted the statements he made earlier or he simply lied.
The Open Studio Comes to Help
In the meantime, Kinneret Barashi, an attorney from Tel Aviv teamed up with Eli Tzipori, a reputable senior economic journalist and a commentator at Globes, and with Avi Weiss, an ex-police investigator and a Telecom expert, they started a new and very effective initiative they named ‘The Open Studio’; an open legal channel that aims to make accessible to the public what was taking place in the courtroom during the trial. Among other things, the channel mainly reviews Netanyahu’s case 4000 and it broadcasts the discussions live on social platforms, long before everyone else.
In order to answer to public’s demand to know what is taking place in Netanyahu’s trial, Eli Tzipori is present at the courtroom each day when there is a hearing of the case, blind typing and sending the messages to Kinneret through WhatsApp which, in return, she immediately broadcasts on Facebook and YouTube, reading what Eli is sending to her while he is in court; she also has expert commentators sitting with her helping to explain to the public what is taking place in real time. This platform is drawing a rather large audience – measuring in the thousands in real time and tens of thousands in delayed viewing – considering it is taking place during the day while people are at work. That created a huge public awareness about Netanyahu’s trial.
The bottom line is that the other side does not come up with good answers. If you do not like Netanyahu, do not vote for him. A trial is about evidence and facts and the prosecution is collapsing from day to day.
Additionally, the witnesses are crumbling; on many occasions they could not remember their original testimony and perhaps the investigators even used techniques to play with their memory faculty.
This destructive behavior comes from incitement, pursuit of power and reaching the end goal justifies all means.
The End Goal
And Netanyahu’s detractors got what they wanted. They overthrew Netanyahu, they formed a Leftwing government and the thought everything was peachy, which is far from the truth.
The current government of Israel is stuck together out of fear; they know they burned all their political bridges; if the Rightwing wins the next election those in the government who defected from the Right will not be taken back, such as con-artists false Rightwinger Naftali Bennett and his sidekick Ayelet Shaked and Gidon Sa’ar; they simply do not have a retreat path. So much despised by the true Rightwing members they have to keep on running in the air while creating many pitfalls in the way.
“As much as I hate this government, I would hate it even more if Netanyahu steps aside in order for a new Rightwing to form a majority coalition government without him at the helm. Because this will be the final proof that evil paid off, the people who perpetrated this indictment won and it should not be this way,” Moshik concluded some of his thoughts.
Since the current corrupt government was formed, two rallies took place in Ha’Bimah Square, in the city of Tel Aviv; one in early November 2021 and one in December 7, 2021, in which several thousand attended. Adi and Moshik were doing the rounds among the participants and to their surprise people who they didn’t even know came up to them and with tears in their eyes expressed the sense of justice and hope Project 315 gave them. These people were constantly told by so many that their leader was corrupt and though they knew it was not true they needed the evidence to strengthen their belief and Project 315 gave them the much needed backing.
Campaign to Help Fund Netanyahu’s Legal Defense
If we talk truth to power, the government of Israel mugged Netanyahu with their false accusations forcing him to have an immense expense that he did not ask or want to have.
Whether Netanyahu is financially well off or not is not the issue. The fact that someone is rich does not mean that someone can steal some of their money with impunity. AG Mandelblit’s goal was to win. If he and Netanyahu’s detractors could force Bibi into bankruptcy, their task becomes easier to achieve.
The campaign to help Netanyahu pay his legal expenses is not about the man, rather, it is to show solidarity, moral support and strength. Additionally, no one knows if Netanyahu can in fact receive the money collected because it will need the Knesset’s approval.
A Plea Bargain
But there is another factor playing right now. There is a plea bargain for Netanyahu on the table.
Here I remind the reader of case 1000, accusing Netanyahu of breach of trust, for not mentioning a potential conflict of interest, involving his friend Arnon Milchan, a very feeble case because any politician, anyone, at any time, can be accused of breach of trust; case 2000, involving the talks with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes, a totally upside down case, in which Netanyahu was not involved to gain something rather to prevent a totally unfair law against the newspaper Israel Hayom which would have stopped its cost free to the public distribution by forcing the newspaper to charge money. Netanyahu was all set to stop this law and thus approached Mozes to mislead him in order to gain time, a case that also falls under a breach of trust; and case 4000, which is the most serious one, the Bezeq case accusing Netanyahu of bribery and breach of trust. All in all three breach of trust and one bribery indictment cases.
The prosecution offered to strike the most severe bribery accusation in case 4000. They also offered to strike case 2000 all together and leave only two breach of trust in case 1000 and 4000.
In return they wanted only one thing from Netanyahu, which reflects their real intention behind it all; they want Netanyahu out of politics; to commit to being out of politics for seven years.
Moshik understands that as a 71-year-old private citizen Netanyahu can walk away from politics and live a quiet life without any threats. However, as an Israeli citizen, Moshik would like to see Netanyahu remain in the fight as a public official, because every day Project 315 discovers more evidence of the morass of the system.
The campaign to help Netanyahu pay his legal cost is one way to encourage him to stay in the fight and it has achieved its goal already. Adding to it is a popular song (in Hebrew) sung by Ariel Zilber, a famous Israel singer, to which Moshik received permission to write new lyrics reflecting the indictment:
The song recites the line “Benjamin the friend of G-D, Israel will stand by you, we know that justice is on your side” that also shows support for Netanyahu.
Whether Netanyahu will remain in the fight is unknown. However, the Project 315 initiative will continue to tell the public the truth and what is going on.
“Will anyone be punished when all the truth is revealed?” I asked Moshik.
“We first have to win and hopefully then punishment will follow, much depends on the facts that will come out,” he replied.
According to a report, at one point 450 state investigators were working on Netanyahu’s case, a huge cost to the taxpayer, not to mention the lawyers assigned to each case.
The case is the result of an ingrate portion of the Israeli population coupled with much media incitement. Netanyahu was a very high-achieving Prime Minister for the state of Israel. Only a very confused society can ignore this fact or a coup can undermine it.
Netanyahu operated along the priorities that were good for the country and he navigated the country well in difficult years; he kept the cards close to his chest while protecting his people. For example, he was forced to walk on eggshells and navigated the country well during the eight years that Barack Obama, an Israel detractor, was in the White House.
Sadly, Naftali Bennett, now the Prime Minister of Israel, is a cheat. He sat in a TV studio the night before the last election with a document, which he signed in front of the camera and the entire nation, in which he committed that he would not sit in a coalition with Mansour Abbas of the Arab Ra’am Party nor with the political Leftwing, and he reneged on his signed word. He lied to the public. As a result, nowadays no one believes a word Bennett says. A total failure as a person and as a Prime Minister.
In the end there is much distrust in the government that is supposed to work for the people and the country and is failing to do so.
The end game for Project 315 is to bring Netanyahu back to the ruling government with a real, not false (American RINO type), Rightwing majority.
If he returns to lead, Moshik would like to see a much more firm Netanyahu.
“Is the coalition governance system working well for Israel,” I asked?
Moshik thinks that the coalition governance system is not Israel’s main internal political problem; it is not the cause for instability. The greater problem is the lack of media balance and the interference of the legal establishment in the election results. If these two factors were alleviated, Israel could have a very stable Rightwing government from which all the citizens would benefit. Such changes can be brought about only by a strong majority Rightwing ruling coalition.
Believing that Netanyahu’s trial is a crucial point in Israel’s history, the Project 315 quartet will continue their activities so long as the Netanyahu trial goes on.
“Eventually good wins over evil and we will win,” says Moshik. “Facts will trump fiction. When you come to the people with facts you win.”
Maybe the Worse It Gets the Better It Will Become
When I mentioned to Moshik the violent May 2021 Arab riots in Israel he replied: “the Arabs will always be Arabs; they will always want to eliminate the Jews in the land of Israel. It is only up to us. The stronger we are the weaker they are. Netanyahu did a lot to change this situation during his 12 years Premiership tenure. Right now, with the current government, we have a setback. And I am trying to be optimistic, I believe it will come back. Also, everyone has to help in his or her area, rather than criticizing.”
The Israeli police, in their recommendations, did not define exactly what ‘regulatory benefits’ mean. While most democracies have ceased to function, Israel has found a new technique on how to endear itself to democracy; by filing an indictment against the Prime Minister who is doing an excellent job for the benefit of the state and its citizens. It’s a case of very narrow vision that sees, without a precedent, the matter of favorable coverage as bribery, favorable coverage that never was, and there is no smoking gun here. Allegedly, there was one dissenting voice but very weak. So, out of fear, they all lined up with Shai Nitzan, the State Attorney of Israel and Chief prosecutor.
You do not bring down a Prime Minister for receiving cigars, for having a bed on the plane while on a trip to meet another world leaders, or holding private conversations with publishers, even if he did not act in full ethical mode. All the economic testimonies show that there was no bribery. And if there is an unethical and not valuable behavior, which we can admit did exist, there is still no clear bribery offense here, no smoking gun or golden evidence. There is a bribery behavioral accusatory structure built here, based on a series of completely dubious circumstances.
The proposal to promote a plea deal is accepted with mixed feelings, and with fear that the “Hunting Journey” against the former prime minister will not end with him.
Project 315 is a necessity in order to expose the corruption and the truth. While the government hides the truth from the citizens it is supposed to represent, the truth continues to seep out, bit by bit, through the efforts of citizens who care about the truth, weaving together the threads of the deep state corruption and exposing it.
Israel needs to know the truth because the truth is the path to reasserting democracy and freedom. The free world should see what is taking place in Israel and mirror it. It remains for active caring people, the likes of the Project 315 efforts, to pull out the threads of truth from the whole social fabric and expose it to the sanitizing light of public scrutiny and trial.
When the entire truth has been finally revealed, what has been done to Mr. Netanyahu in the past few years, more so, to the people of Israel who have put their trust and were encouraged to trust the authorities, it will be difficult to forgive and impossible to forget. All because the detractors saw an opportunity to grab power while chopping away at the democratic system and thus denying the people a fair and honest democratized election.
Whatever the reason is, the fickle tide has changed and now many conspirators will be left naked to their deception.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been put in a precarious position, facing legal battles much based on falsehood and make believe. Netanyahu’s case much resembles the lies and deception perpetrated against President Donald Trump.
I am not for or against Benjamin Netanyahu. However, when the people lose their trust in the government’s institutions, as is happening in Israel, Europe, Australia, and even the USA, democracy is gone and tyranny takes over. We are in a very dangerous time. We should only be fighting our enemies and instead we are doing self-harm.
The media in Israel was an active propaganda machine for the Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres governments that signed the Oslo Accords. People have allowed the media to have total control over the information sources while they lack critical thinking, choosing to keep quiet rather than stand up for what is right.
As of this writing major disturbing developments are taking place in Israel. It is galvanizing the term “Israel Watergate.” After Netanyahu asked the court to divulge all Intel gained through the hack, Israel police admit to have used spyware to break and hack into the phone of a key witness in the Netanyahu trial. That may roil the trial and only time will tell how this new factor plays a role in Netanyahu’s trial.
All over the world, discussion is being suppressed. Those with the most power say they have the right to decide on what is considered truth, and as it turns out, more often than not, what they say is not the truth at all.
It has been said that “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself,” but that depends on some important factors among them, there cannot be corruption among the ruling class and governmental institutes and there must be ethical impartial arbiters.
Nowadays, the truth has lost its monopoly. It must be rescued by speaking up the truth. Therefore, we will have to wait a little longer to see how all the events in this politically earth shattering story play out.