Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin NetanyahuReuters

The judges presiding over Case 4000 against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned representatives of the prosecution and defense to a private room during a hearing and told the prosecutors that they would have a difficult time proving bribery in the case, Channel 13 News reported.

Case 4000 involves allegations that Netanyahu made promises of favorable regulatory changes to Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch in exchange for favorable coverage of the prime minister and his family on Walla, Elovitch's news site.

About a month ago, Israel's ambassador to the UN and former Communications Minister, Gilad Erdan, testified in case 4000 in the Jerusalem District Court. In his testimony, Erdan described about Elovitch's attempts to change his decision on the wholesale telecommunications market reforms at the time, which were meant to lower the price citizens pay to Bezeq and thus reduce Elovitch's profits. "He contacted me several times, one time even at my house, where I hinted he should leave."

Erdan claimed that Netanyahu did not talk to him about Elovitch but did ask him if he was attentive to Bezeq's complaints: "The prime minister spoke to me once about the issue, I told him that I was definitely attentive to the complaints."

Two months ago, Channel 13 News reported that the attorneys in the case approached Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara and asked her to consider allowing the case to be brought to criminal mediation.

The proposal was raised by Elovitch's attorneys, with Netanyahu's attorneys not objecting to the idea.

The proposal to have the sides engage in mediation was raised in court during discussions on the admissibility of materials that are currently being conducted behind closed doors.

The purpose of criminal mediation is to reach an agreed plea deal settlement between the parties with the assistance of the court. The mediation is conducted behind closed doors before a judge who did not hear the main proceedings. The move enables the streamlining of the criminal procedure while the parties reach agreements between them.