Adelson's Israel Hayom Getting New Editor After Bucking Netanyahu's Office

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Nati Tucker
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Amos Regev.
Amos Regev.Credit: David Bachar
Nati Toker
Nati Tucker

Israel Hayom, the free newspaper owned by Benjamin Netanyahu ally Sheldon Adelson, is getting a new editor-in-chief after a series of clashes between the newspaper and the prime minister's bureau.

Boaz Bismuth, the daily's foreign news editor, will take over for Amos Regev, the veteran journalist who has served as editor-in-chief of Israel Hayom since its launch in 2007.

Under Regev, Israel Hayom has given Netanyahu positive coverage, to the point that some claim it is illegal propaganda. In 2015 Netanyahu even dismantled his own coalition to protect the newspaper against a legislative proposal that would have forced it to charge money.

During the last year, the journalist Raviv Drucker has been fighting a legal battle to expose the dates, times and lengths of phone calls between the prime minister's bureau, Regev, and Adelson.

In the course of this struggle, Regev's claim has been that his talks with Netanyahu are personal, and based on a relationship of friendship.

Yet in the last year, conflicts arose between Regev and Netanyahu and the prime minister's surroundings. Among other things, Regev refused a request by Ran Baratz, then a spokesman for Netanyahu, to kick the reporter Shlomo Cesana from the prime minister's plane on a junket and replace him with somebody else, after Cesana criticized Netanyahu.

Israel Hayom also significantly reduced the number of pictures it runs of Netanyahu's wife Sara Netanyahu, indicating a greater degree of editorial independence than before.

Israel Hayom ran a story on its change in leadership on Sunday. Regev stated that he thanks Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, and the entire Adelson family, for the opportunity to revolutionize the Israeli newspaper business, and said it had been an amazing and challenging decade. He is convinced Bismuth will lead the paper to new heights, Regev said.

Israel Hayom on Sunday ran a letter from the Adelson family to Regev, praising his love of Israel and the profession, and saying they honor his desire to step down.

Bismuth, 52, has a Masters' in African studies from the Sorbonne, and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Bar-Ilan University. Among other things, he served as Israel's ambassador to Mauritania. He commented that his appointment as editor-in-chief is the height of achievement for a print journalist, let alone the "No. 1 newspaper in the country."

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