Adelson's Netanyahu-aligned Newspaper to Cover Election With Israeli Television Network

Cooperation between Israel Hayom freebie newspaper and Patrick Drahi's trilingual i24 could see the latter becoming aligned with Netanyahu

File photo: Sheldon Adelson attends the Republican Jewish Coalition annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas, February 24, 2017.
John Locher/AP

In first for Israeli media, U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson's Israel Hayom newspaper will cooperate with the i24 television network, owned by French-Israeli businessman Patrick Drahi, in covering the upcoming Israeli election.

The two groups are to establish a dedicated news desk for the election with programs in English and French – two of the three languages i24 broadcasts in, along with Arabic – as well as a third program in Hebrew that will appear on the Israel Hayom website after every live TV broadcast.

The programming will be led by Israel Hayom journalists and particularly its editor-in-chief Boaz Bismuth, alongside i24 journalists. It is expected to include regular interviews with leading politicians and joint weekly election polls.

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Israel Hayom, distributed in Israel free of charge, is aligned with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and consistently toes the line with his views on almost every issue, including criminal corruption investigations surrounding the prime minister. This could mean that the TV network, which until now remained politically unaligned, could possibly see that change, as it readies for the launch of a fourth channel in Hebrew.

File photo: French-Israeli businessman Patrick Drahi, October 9, 2018.
Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

For i24, which is still prevented from broadcasting locally in Hebrew by regulators because Drahi also owns the Hot cable company, this is seen as an opportunity to get to know the Israeli market better.

Cooperation between the two billionaires Adelson and Drahi has come up numerous times in recent years, and the former even visited i24 offices at the Jaffa port. Drahi had also examined buying shares in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper, seen as Israel Hayom's main competition.

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