Cabinet secretary Tzahi Braverman on Tuesday recommended that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit consider opening a criminal investigation against MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) for alleged document forgery on Twitter.
In a letter to Mandelblit, Braverman quoted a Twitter post by Hasson saying, “Why only the communications portfolio? Here, I arranged it for you, just press send.” Along with the post, Hasson added a fake resignation document from the premiership “signed” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu similar to Netanyahu’s resignation document from the communication ministry that was shown by Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog in a faction meeting on Monday.
Braverman claimed that this act by Hasson is a deliberate manipulation of the public and the fact that is was done by a Knesset member makes it even more severe.
In reaction to the move, Hasson blamed Netanyahu for dealing with jokes on social networks instead of handling the true challenges Israel faces. “It is an honor for me to be criticized by the master of fake news and forgery Netanyahu,” he said. “It is interesting to find out that our prime minister, who is supposed to deal with real threats like Iran, Hezbollah or Hamas, prefers to combat my protest Twitter joke.”
Hasson added that the reason for this response by the Prime Ministers’ Office is that Netanyahu fears to lose his position. “It is clear now that Netanyahu’s political end is closer than ever, and that is why every Twitter joke is considered by him as a existential threat. Even a blunt and brutal move such as this by Netanyahu will not deter me from acting to replace him,” he added.
Last Friday Netanyahu announced his temporary resignation from the post of communications minister and appointed Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) to hold the portfolio for three months.
Netanyahu decided to give up the portfolio because of police investigations and lawsuits that have raised questions regarding his interactions with senior figures in the media. On January 31, the High Court of Justice ordered Netanyahu to explain why he should not resign nor suspend himself as communications minister, in light of the alleged conflict of interest that was revealed by the investigation.
The court made the decision after a petition was filed by the Movement for Quality Government and opposition chairman Herzog asking the justices to remove Netanyahu from the post.
The prime minister is being investigated in the so-called Bibi-Noni affair, otherwise known as Case 2000, in which he is suspected of colluding with Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes to harm competing paper Israel Hayom in return for better coverage in Yediot.
He is also being investigated in Case 1000, labeled “the gifts affair,” in which the prime minister and his wife, Sara, allegedly received hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of champagne and cigars from Israeli Hollywood movie mogul Arnon Milchan, who is also part owner of television’s Channel 10.
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