Israel Election: Netanyahu Loyalist, Right-wing Pundit Announces Likud Primary Run

Boaz Bismuth, former editor-in-chief of Adelson-owned daily Israel Hayom, wants a Knesset seat with former Prime Minister Netanyahu's party. In a short video message, he tells those who accused him of pro-Likud bias as a journalist: 'You were right'

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
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Boaz Bismuth, visiting Ariel University in 2019.
Boaz Bismuth, visiting Ariel University in 2019.Credit: Moti Milrod
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Boaz Bismuth, the former editor-in-chief of right-wing newspaper Israel Hayom, announced on Monday he was entering politics and plans to run in the Likud primary election, ahead of Israel's November 1 general election.

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Bismuth, who earlier this year left the free newspaper established by the late American tycoon Sheldon Adelson and now owned by his wife Miriam, has long been part of the right-wing establishment in Israel, and specifically has ties to Likud, led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He has been contemplating entering politics for several years, but the upcoming election – Israel's fifth in less than four years – will be the first since Bismuth left his role as editor-in-chief earlier this year.

Bismuth joins many journalists who have made the transition into politics in recent years, most notably Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Bismuth has had multiple conversations with Netanyahu over the past few weeks, where the two spoke about the possibility of him joining the Likud ticket.

The 57-year-old journalist was appointed as editor-in-chief in 2017, replacing Amos Regev who was fired after disagreements between him and Netanyahu’s office. It was Bismuth who placed the newspaper at the disposal of Netanyahu, turning the former prime minister into the editor-in-chief in practice. Netanyahu dictated the newspaper’s headlines and policy, and for years conducted his relationships with his rivals on the pages of the newspaper.

Upon his announcement, Bismuth released a short video on Twitter, where he appears to be half-jokingly responding to critics who accused him of bias as a journalist: "You said I was right-wing, you said I was pro-Likud. Well, you were right."

In January, Bismuth left the paper, stating he had reached a point of “exhaustion” and is preparing to “face new challenges.” He claims he opted to leave, but this was perceived by many as a dismissal by Miriam Adelson, the widow of the Jewish billionaire casino magnate, who became the official publisher of Israel Hayom in 2018.

Over the past few years, Bismuth has become a regular panelist on Channel 12 News' main Friday evening newscast, a position he has continued to hold since leaving the newspaper.

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