Netanyahu Pre-approves Headlines of Adelson-owned Israeli Newspaper, Economist Claims

Israel Hayom, owned by American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, blasts Economist report claiming the prime minister approves headlines; PM's office also denies allegation.

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Netanyahu handing out Israel Hayom, despite the proposed bill
Netanyahu handing out Israel Hayom, despite the proposed billCredit: Amos Biderman
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The Prime Minister's Office and the Israel Hayom newspaper fiercely responded to an article published in The Economist, according to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regularly approves headlines printed in the newspaper before they are published.

"The claim is so outrageous that it doesn't even warrant a response," read a statement from Israel Hayom. The Prime Minister's Office stated that "no such thing ever happened." At the same time, representatives for Israel Hayom stated that legal action is not being pursued.

An article about Iran-Israel relations entitled "A tough deal to swallow" listed Netanyahu's efforts at preventing the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers, and also mentioned various headlines published by the newspaper, which is owned by Netanyahu confidant Sheldon Adelson. The second paragraph of The Economist's article reads "Israel Hayom is a freesheet owned by Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul and supporter of Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister. Its headlines are routinely approved by the prime minister's office."

A British media watchdog website, UK Media Watch, contacted The Economist for clarification. According to the UK Media Watch website, The Economist is "standing by the claim, which is based on a source who they have full confidence in."

Adelson tends to aggressively pursue legal action against those he claims have made false allegations. In 2008, Adelson won a $4 million lawsuit against the British newspaper "Daily Mail." In 2013, a lawsuit was filed on his behalf against the Wall Street Journal, and recently, other legal threats have been made against Democratic super PACs. In Israel as well, Adelson has filed lawsuits against Channel 10, which resulted in the channel issuing an apology. In this case, however, it seems the newspaper prefers not to create additional controversy regarding its political leanings.

Benjamin Netanyahu with Sheldon Adelson, left Credit: Eyal Warshavsky / BauBau

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