The popular daily newspaper Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today) is facing legislation threatening its business model. The paper, owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is currently given away for free, and boasts a 26.6 percent market share – the largest in Israel.
MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) submitted a bill that targets Yisrael Hayom specifically. The proposed law lines up the top four national newspapers by subscription, and mandates that the price of the newspaper with the lowest cost be no less than 70% of the next cheapest newspaper’s. This would ensure that Yisrael Hayom could no longer be given out for free.
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The bill does not affect any other Israeli newspaper and is specifically intended to repress a right-wing daily which has outranked Israel’s other, more left-leaning newspapers. Yisrael Hayom is considered to be Adelson’s investment in the career of his good, personal friend, Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has made it no secret of the fact that the bill is targeting one specific newspaper, saying “My stance is clear. Israel Hayom is not a newspaper, it is election propaganda funded by someone very problematic with a worldview that goes against Israel’s interests.”
The bill passed its reading in committee, and the Knesset will vote on it on Wednesday. Interestingly, the bill was not brought to a vote in the committee, but was simply passed for a house vote instead.
Tazpit News Agency content was used in this report.