Haaretzs board of directors has appointed Aluf Benn as the papers editor in chief, effective Monday. Benn, a veteran correspondent and commentator at Haaretz, replaces Dov Alfon, who has been editor in chief for the past three years and is leaving the paper to establish a new digital enterprise in cooperation with the Haaretz Group.
Benn, 46, began his career as a reporter for the weekly Hair. His report on changes anticipated in the Mossad brass which was initially banned from publication was at the heart of a High Court of Justice ruling that limited the power of military censorship.
Benn, who joined Haaretz 22 years ago, published a far-reaching investigative report on an Israel Air Force officer, Rami Dotan, who was arrested the following year and convicted in the most serious corruption case in the history of the air force. Benn later fulfilled a number of roles at the paper: diplomatic correspondent, head of the news division, and for the past two years, political commentator and editor of the opinion pages.
Benns articles and columns have been published in leading international publications, including the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post and Foreign Affairs.
In 2008, Benn was a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies as the recipient of a special grant in memory of Zeev Schiff, Haaretzs military analyst.
Benn received a masters degree in business administration from the Kellogg-Recanati International Executive MBA Program, run jointly by Northwestern University in Chicago and Tel Aviv University.
Benn said yesterday: I am thrilled to head the best team of editors, writers and designers in Israel and lead it in fulfilling Haaretzs public mission as a watchdog of Israeli democracy. We face many quite complex challenges in the rapidly changing communications and technological realm, which we will meet as we maintain the journalistic quality and excellence that have always been hallmarks of Haaretz. I am especially proud to be following in the footsteps of Dov Alfon, an excellent editor and a good friend, who led the paper to great achievements and strengthened its position as the most important and highest quality communications outlet in Israel.
Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken said: Dov Alfon concludes an excellent term as editor in chief of Haaretz. Unfortunately, I was unable to persuade him to make it much longer. He led the paper through quite a difficult period of economic crisis, the war in Gaza, and the challenge of a wave of nationalism. The values of Haaretz were well expressed in the paper he edited. The possibility of collaboration with Alfon in the future is of some comfort in the face of his premature departure from the paper.
Aluf Benn is a natural appointment, Schocken added. He brings to the position of editor in chief skill, experience and the tools to ensure that under his leadership, Haaretz will continue to fulfill its unique role in Israeli society and deal in the best possible way with the great changes in the journalistic environment.