Jlem Post Change of Editors

David Horovitz will replace Bret Stephens as editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post on October 1, the Post announced Sunday.

Stephens, 30, who came to the Post two and a half years ago from The Wall Street Journal, will be returning to his former employer as the youngest member of its editorial board. Horovitz, 42, is a former Post reporter and editor whose most recent position was editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Report magazine.

The change in editors takes place against the background of the shake-up in the Post's parent company, the international media conglomerate Hollinger, following allegations that Chairman and CEO Conrad Black and Chief Operating Officer David Radler had engaged in a massive embezzlement scheme. Radler also served as chairman of the Post.

The change is also expected to affect the Post's editorial line. Since Hollinger acquired the paper in 1989, it has generally taken a clear rightist stance. That was one of Hollinger's reasons for hiring Stephens, who holds a conservative worldview.

Horovitz, in contrast, holds a center-left worldview, but is expected to have the paper eschew a clear political identity. He said that he agreed to accept the job only after being promised complete editorial independence.

Horovitz, who moved to Israel from Britain in 1983, was appointed by Gordon Paris, Hollinger's acting CEO. Paris is also the person who decided to dismiss the Post's publisher, Tom Rose, a few months ago. Recent media reports state that Rose, who was known for his acrid relationship with the paper's staff, may have been involved in the financial misdeeds attributed to Black and Radler.

The financial scandal has resulted in all of Hollinger's media holdings being put up for sale. People who have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring the Post include business magnates Ron Lauder and Haim Saban and the Can-West media group, owned by the Asper family of Canada.

Stephens said that he is leaving the Post not because of the current uncertainty over its future, but because of the tempting offer he received from the Journal and his desire to return to the United States after many years abroad. "I'm sorry to be leaving Israel," he said, "but I'm proud of the paper's achievements during my tenure as editor. This is a paper with a special mission, and I think it will continue to fulfill this mission under David Horovitz."