JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must disclose the dates and lengths of the phone conversations he had with billionaire American Sheldon Adelson, publisher of the pro-Netanyahu daily newspaper Israel Hayom.
The Supreme Court ruling on Monday was a response to an appeal filed by a reporter for Israel’s Channel 10 and overturns a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court decision in 2016. The Magistrate’s Court ruling had overturned a decision calling for the release of the material in 2015 by the Jerusalem District Court.
The reporter, Raviv Drucker, has requested the material under Israel’s Freedom of Information Law, calling the information of public interest.
“There is a clear public interest in exposing the nature and strength of the relationship” between Adelson and Netanyahu, Justice Menachem Mazuz said in his decision, Channel 10 reported.
Channel 10 noted that the release is not a violation of privacy, since the requested information does not relate to the content of the talks but rather to when they took place.
Netanyahu must transfer the call log to Channel 10 and Drucker within 15 days.
Adelson, a casino magnate, and his wife during recent visits to Israel have been questioned twice by police investigators in corruption scandals that allegedly involve Netanyahu. Police have assured the couple that they are not suspects in one of the probes.
Part of the investigation includes accusations that Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, publisher of the daily Yediot Acharanot, discussed a deal in which Netanyahu would receive favorable coverage in Yediot in exchange for legislation that would cut into the circulation of Adelson’s free paper.
In recordings obtained by police of Netanyahu and Mozes discussing such a deal, they referred to Adelson as the “gingy,” or redhead. Investigators reportedly have asked if Adelson was aware of the deal.
Miriam Adelson reportedly deals with the couple’s Israeli affairs, including the newspaper. The Adelsons and Netanyahus are considered to be close friends.