Israeli Daily Calls on Yedioth Publisher at Center of Netanyahu Scandal to Suspend Himself

Columnist Sima Kadmon, whose boss Arnon Mozes is entangled in a corruption scandal with Benjamin Netanyahu, says she was shocked by revelations, calling the story 'a punch to the stomach.'

Netanyahu and Noni Mozes.
Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon (Noni) Mozes and PM Benjamin Netanyahu Eran Wolkowski

Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, whose publisher Arnon Mozes is currently at the center of a corruption scandal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ran a front-page article by senior columnist Sima Kadmon on Thursday, addressing the case under the headline, "A punch to the stomach," suggesting that Mozes should suspend himself.

Kadmon's column comes one day after senior Yedioth journalist Nahum Barnea published a piece regarding the scandal called "We are all suspects."

Kadmon opened with a description of her personal feelings. "A punch to the stomach, that's what I felt. A sharp, hard pain that climbs up to my chest. After long weeks of doubts and guesses, the revelation that this was about my boss is no less than shocking," she wrote.

"In a perfect world, the prime minister would have resigned this week or suspend himself until the completion of investigations into his affairs. On the other side, Yedioth Ahronoth's publisher would suspend himself as a responsible editor. But in a perfect world, none of this would be necessary. Because, in a perfect world, conversations like those that took place between Netanyahu and Mozes - centered on promises whose immediate implication is a newspaper for power - wouldn't have taken place," she added.

Yedioth Ahronoth's front page on January 12, 2017.
Yedioth Ahronoth

Regarding her own relationship with Mozes, Kadmon wrote, "In all my years at Yedioth Ahronoth I've seen my publisher maybe 10 times, always at random. He's never called me, not to offer praise or otherwise. His comments, if there were any, were not communicated to me by him or through a messenger. I don't know and never asked what he thought for example about what I wrote during (Operation) Protective Edge, when I expressed complete support for restraint and caution from the prime minister.

"Am I splitting hairs? The answer is no. Am I naive? It could be. But no more than those who believe that their own system is clean, that the reporters are independent, and that dark deals of give and take aren't being made behind their backs," wrote Kadmon, a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Associated of Journalists.

New details in the scandal, revealed in Haaretz by Gidi Weitz on Tuesday, uncover that the deal discussed between Netanyahu and Mozes included a sharp change in the Yedioth group's coverage of the prime minister in exchange for Netanyahu's political support of a bill that would harm Mozes' main competitor, Israel Hayom.

"Is there no reason for a line that's critical of the prime minister?" wrote Kadmon. "It's not a whim of an editor or the result of a give and take behind the backs of the journalists. Netanyahu rightly bought the criticism against him, and that's proven by case 1,000 no less than case 2,000. The case deals with the gifts given to the prime minister amounting to hundreds of thousands of shekels and the hedonistic lifestyle that awakens disgust of his family that we wrote about and won't stop writing about."

Kadmon's colleague Barnea, also addressed the scandals on the front page of the paper on Wednesday, writing that, "The prime minister, who reportedly initiated the meetings, is suspect; the publisher, who reportedly gave and promised, is suspect; the bureau chief, who participated and recorded, is suspect; the attorney general, who oversaw the game of poker around the investigation of the prime minister's cases in deep ways, is suspect, and I am also suspect."