'Are You the Bribe Media Mogul Arnon Mozes Gave Netanyahu?'

On the line with a senior Yedioth Ahronoth columnist.

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Senior Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Ben-Dror Yemini.
Senior Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Ben-Dror Yemini.Credit: Doron Golan, Jini

Hello to Ben-Dror Yemini, a senior columnist with the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Nir Gontarz from Haaretz here. How are you?


I heard on Army Radio that you want the full transcripts of the conversations and deals between Benjamin Netanyahu and your paper’s publisher, Noni Mozes – your employer – to be made public. Can you elaborate?

No. I have no elaboration. I’m in favor of full exposure.

Different media outlets published very serious information simultaneously, so the information is apparently accurate. Highly embarrassing.

To find out what’s accurate and what isn’t, I definitely want to see the exact transcripts.

I don’t think there’s one citizen, particularly if he’s a journalist, who isn’t eager to read the texts, not to mention hearing the voices. Obviously. But I’m asking about your feeling now.

I write, and I say, exactly what I feel. That’s also why I’m not invoking the right to remain silent but am talking – both to Army Radio and to you.

You’re talking, but you’re not saying much. Although, to your credit, it has to be said that others are more afraid. Shimon Shiffer slammed the phone down, after he said that he had used my work in a journalism course he taught, and Nechama Duek also cut me off. They’re apparently more chickens than journalists. It’s good that you’re not like that, but I’m still don’t understand how you feel with all this.

In defense of other journalists, I can definitely understand that they want to remain silent. When you don’t know much, sometimes it’s better to keep quiet.

Funny. If instead of Mozes, the name was [business magnate Yitzhak] Tshuva, they would scream out their opinions. In a case like that, they would certainly make do with the information that already exists and speak their minds.

That’s exactly the reason that every morning when I wake up, I look in the mirror and ask myself if what I am doing as a journalist is the right thing or the wrong thing. Sometimes I make mistakes, too.

There’s a talk you give, and also a book, I think, titled “The Industry of Lies of Haaretz.” Is that one of the things you regret?

Uh My book is not about the “industry of lies of Haaretz.” The book, “The Industry of Lies,” has a chapter about Haaretz. Not one word that I wrote in that chapter, or in the book in general, has been refuted. So there’s nothing I regret.

Listen to this: A while back there were complaints against Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken regarding male chauvinism within the paper. Even though he pays me at the end of every month, and even though I work for him, I didn’t hesitate to call him and ask for his response to that. He answered all my questions on the record. Actually, I’m asking whether you did the basic thing and called your boss, Noni Mozes, to ask him what this is all about.

I don’t know what your relationship is with

There is no relationship between me and Schocken.

Because you know that these are two publishers, each of whom has his own public style, and that they are different from one another, so the comparison is not appropriate.

So forget the comparison. Did you call Mozes to try to understand what this is all about?

Uh uh I didn’t call and I won’t call. And anyone who does call Mozes, will certainly get the reply that the matter is under investigation.

Or a letter of dismissal.

I don’t know.

It’s a possibility.

No one has received a letter of dismissal.

Because no one has apparently contacted him. Isn’t it strange that no one from the paper’s group of senior, biting reporters and commentators has asked the suspect what’s going on?

I’m not their spokesperson. Speak to each of them separately. I can definitely understand those who say that until things become clear, they don’t want to open their mouth. The fact that I decided something different, is because it’s me. I decided that I wouldn’t invoke the right to be silent, primarily because I am not suspected of anything. If I express trenchant opinions on other issues, then I allow myself to speak on this issue as well. And here we are, speaking.

Listen, I’ve never had the experience of speaking with a $100 bill or with a cigar. I mean that I’ve never had the opportunity to speak with regular bribery. I have the feeling that I may be speaking with bribery now: that you are the person Mozes hired for the paper as part of his promise to Netanyahu to hire people who are less critical of him.

That allegation is beyond ridiculous.


Because before coming to Yedioth, and while working for Yedioth, I wrote that I have never voted for Netanyahu and have no intention of voting for him in the future, because my political positions are as far from his as East is from West.

Netanyahu doesn’t have a problem with different views. He has a problem with personal criticism of him, and from that standpoint you’re very convenient for him. You will not write about Sara Netanyahu.

I was less critical of him when I was with [the newspaper] Maariv.

I rest my case.

I am also less critical of him than others at Yedioth; in that sense, I have no problem when I look into the mirror.

I rest my case.

I wrote things critical of him before coming to Yedioth and after coming to Yedioth, so there’s no problem. I’ve never had to change anything. No one has asked me to change anything.

Obviously. But that’s the thing, after all: When you hire a journalist who is less critical of the prime minister at the personal level, you don’t have to tell him to be less critical. That’s the thing.

You look over the range of comments I’ve made against Netanyahu for the past two-and-a-half years or more since I’ve been with Yedioth. I’ve written so much criticism of him that your allegation is

Way beyond ridiculous.

It becomes even more ridiculous.

Okay. So we’ll go on looking for the journalist who was hired as part of Mozes’ promise to Netanyahu. If you say it’s not you, it must be others.

I I I don’t think there’s anything to that allegation from the beginning.

According to the reports, Mozes definitely promised to take on journalists of Netanyahu’s choosing

That’s exactly the reason that both you and I want everything to be up-front.

Let’s say that when the transcripts are published, it all turns out to be true. Will you and your colleagues at Yedioth announce that you’re not willing to work there anymore?

Uh Let’s wait for things to be clarified, and only afterward we’ll deal with questions like that.

Absolutely. Thank you.

You’re welcome, and all the best.