Former state witness discourages others from doing same

State witness who incriminated former minister tells story of the heavy price he has paid for18 years.

Mordechai Sones ,


The State Witness who assisted in the incrimination of former Shas Minister Shlomo Benizri today counsels those pressured by police to serve as state witnesses not to agree to the suggestion because of the heavy price exacted from people choosing to do so.

In an interview with Niv Raskin's morning program on Keshet, State Witness Moshe Sela said that 18 years after giving testimony that incriminated Benizri, he is still paying a heavy price and the State is not standing behind him.

Sela was asked to describe the reality surrounding the state's witness against the Prime Minister, Shlomo (Momo) Filber. Filber, Director General of the Communications Ministry and close associate of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, on Tuesday night signed a deal to turn state’s witness in so-called “Case 4000”.

In his testimony, Filber is expected to say, although these are only speculations, that Netanyahu instructed him to grant regulatory benefits to the Bezeq communications company. Police suspect that in exchange for these benefits, chief Bezeq shareholder Shaul Elovitch provided sympathetic coverage to the Prime Minister and his wife on the Walla! news website, which he also owns.

Sela says a state witness such as Filber faces a difficult situation in which every respite from the interrogation room becomes a ray of light for which he will be prepared to say anything. "He's willing to do anything, but he doesn't understand the situation he's bringing upon himself, his family, and all those around him."

"Anyone who comes out in support of him will be hurt. His children will be harassed at school and in the neighborhood. His wife will be insulted when she wants to go out to the supermarket and shop. Everyone will despise him as if he just came out of jail. There'll be no work for him or for his wife.

"It would be better to go to prison, pay the price of the offense you did and not be a state witness. You commit a sin when you don't take responsibility for what you did, and then sin a second time when you incriminate your friends or work associates. You accuse them of false things because some of the testimony you give is what the interrogators tell you to say, and they also correct you. All the original testimony you gave is null and void; what remains is the testimony that you gave after you signed the agreement with the State."

Sela tells of his own past, how he could not go to synagogue and how the community in which he lived did not accept him. "They call you an informer, you divorce your wife; my five daughters didn't go to school because they were taunted, told that their father was a state witness, etc. All this happens with the police's knowledge. They don't look at what happens to all those who become state witnesses. Eighteen years and I still suffer until this day. I'm not working, I'm not welcome anywhere, the State doesn't support you. They promised they'd help me, but when I asked why they weren't helping me as they promised, they sent the police against me."

"I recommend not being State Witnesses," concludes Sela, who also stated that Benizri, whom he incriminated, did nothing wrong and was convicted through no fault of his own, even though at one point, Sela claimed he did not regret his testimony.