Editor-in-chief of Israel Hayom Boaz Bismuth is leaving his role after almost five years, a spokesman for the daily said on Monday.
Israel Hayom, established as a free newspaper by tycoon Sheldon Adelson in 2007, swiftly became Israel's most read paper and played a key role in the Netanyahu's ascent. Edelson's wife, Miriam, has taken over the reins of her late husband’s business empire, including Israel Hayom.
In recent years, the newspaper has shifted its editorial line from only supporting Benjamin Netanyahu, to an increasingly favorable stance toward Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, said people with knowledge of the paper’s affairs.
The shift has been noticed by several right-wing politicians and commentators.
Yinon Magal, for example, who is in the midst of a campaign to raise funds for Netanyahu’s legal expenses, tweeted over the weekend that in light of Bennett’s round of interviews in all the major newspapers: “When we said the role of the media is to criticize the government, we meant to criticize the government … for the purpose of a blitz of flattering stories.” Magal attached to his tweet a series of pictures from the front pages of the newspapers that published the interviews with Bennett – including the front page of Israel Hayom’s political magazine.
Yair Netanyahu, the son of the former prime minister, has also attacked Israel Hayom on several occasions, claiming the newspaper has turned into a “propaganda tool for Bennett.”
Amos Regev, the editor-in-chief of Israel Hayom from 2007 through 2017, was fired after disagreements between him and Netanyahu’s office. For example, Regev refused a request from Netanyahu’s former spokesman Ran Baratz to send a different journalist – and not Shlomo Cesana, the paper’s diplomatic correspondent – on a flight with Netanyahu, after Cesana criticized Netanyahu. Israel Hayom also significantly cut back on the number of pictures it ran of Sara Netanyahu during Regev’s tenure, a step that signaled an greater editorial independence than in the past.
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Omer Lachmanovitch, the editor of the paper’s political magazine, will be the acting editor-in-chief.
Bismuth, who was appointed in 2017 to replace Amos Regev, penned a farewell piece on Monday, stating he had reached a point of “exhaustion” and is preparing to “face new challenges.”
Over the past few years, Bismuth participated in the panel of the “Ulpan Shishi” television program on Friday nights on Channel 12 News. The channel is expected to launch a new show hosted by Bismuth and journalist Ben Caspit.