Netanyahu 'illegally' shredded documents before Bennett takeover

Netanyahu 'illegally' shredded documents before Bennett takeover
2 min read
17 June, 2021
Netanyahu ordered staff at the Prime Minister's Office to illegally shred documents before Naftali Bennett took over, Haaretz reported.
Netanyahu left office on Sunday [Getty]

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly destroyed documents stored in safes before leaving office, Haaretz reported.

Staff at the Prime Minister’s Office were ordered to shred the documents prior to Naftali Bennett taking position as the new PM.

The office said it is “unfamiliar with this issue”, while a Netanyahu spokesperson rejected the allegation as a “total lie”.

No such thing ever happened,” the spokesperson said.

The documents were stored in safes in what is known as the “aquarium”, where the PM and his senior aides are located.

While it’s unclear which documents were destroyed or how many, the safes are thought to contain “schedules of senior officials, documents related to their work and other material,” Haaretz reported, noting the move to destroy the files is a violation of Israeli law.

“All documents, whether public or private, are supposed to be preserved in the office’s archives, especially documents related to professional matters,” the report added.

According to civil service regulations, “every document created in the course of a civil servant’s work or received by him pursuant to work belongs to the state and must be kept in the office.

“Documents and archival material that were kept in the office of a civil servant who has ceased to occupy that job and that are directly or indirectly connected to his activities or functions as a civil servant are the property of the state,” the law stipulates. 

“Accordingly, every document or other material in the civil servant’s possession must remain in the office, and all material or documents kept in the worker’s home or elsewhere must be returned to the office.”

On Wednesday, an Israeli group involved in protests against Netanyahu threatened to petition the county's high court if the Likud leader does not leave vacate the premier's residence by 27 June, according to Israeli media.

It comes after a photograph of Netanyahu hosting former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at the official Jerusalem residence surfaced online, prompting a slew of criticism over how the opposition leader is able to host foreign officials at a residence no longer his own.

Bennett, who took office on Sunday, heads a disparate coalition of Israeli parties united by little more than their opposition to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He is a controversial right-wing figure who has previously boasted of “killing Arabs” and said that he would annex most of the West Bank and not allow a Palestinian state.