Haaretz Celebrates 100: A Letter From Publisher Amos Schocken

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Passengers reading Haaretz en route to pre-state Israel, 1939
Passengers reading Haaretz en route to pre-state Israel, 1939

One hundred years ago, on June 18th, 1919, the first issue of Haaretz was published in Jerusalem. It was the first Hebrew newspaper in British Mandate Palestine. Today, Haaretz is the best source for news, commentary and opinion about Israel.

In its 71 years Israel became a great success, but it is also under a serious threat, not only from Iran but also, and maybe more so, because of its inability to develop a strategy to deal with the occupation in the West Bank and the resulting apartheid situation vis-à-vis the Palestinian population. Within Israel this has created a divided civic society, with the government pushing towards Jewish nationalism, pressure against free speech of NGOs and culminating in the new Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, which essentially degrades Israeli non-Jewish citizens to a second-class status.

Haaretz is the strongest advocate for an Israel that is a liberal democracy living in peace with its Palestinian neighbors and that guarantees equal rights for all its citizens.

These days are a critical period in Israel. Within three months, Israel will once again hold a general election and the next government will be determined. The real issue is whether Israel will stay a liberal democracy, or move further towards a fundamentalist and ethnocentric society.

In 2011 David Remnick wrote in The New Yorker that Haaretz "is easily the most liberal newspaper in Israel, and arguably the most liberal institution in a country that has moved inexorably to the right in the past decade."  Eight years later, this is even truer.

The support of our subscribers is the reason we can continue fighting for the true Zionist vision of Israel. We thank you for this support, and urge other readers to buy a stake in Israel's democracy and subscribe to Haaretz.


Amos Schocken