Top Maariv Journalists to Be Sacked as Part of Budget Cuts

Dozens of employees, including senior writers, to lose their jobs under a new austerity plan imposed by the paper's management.

Maariv newspaper's political analyst Shalom Yerushalmi and veteran correspondents Ron Amikam and Avi Ornan were summoned on Wednesday to a mandatory worker's hearing, prior to their dismissal.

The three journalists, along with dozens of other Maariv employees, are losing their jobs at the newspaper under a new austerity plan enforced by the paper's management. As part of these cuts, veteran commentator Nadav Ayal will apparently lose his Maariv column.

The cutbacks apply to all parts of the newspaper - its politics, sports and business sections. Maariv management says that in the coming days, it will formulate a plan for "significant" reductions in the newspaper's costs.

Tal Raz, director general of the Maariv group, wrote in a letter Monday: "We will adopt a plan for a significant reduction of expenses. This painful process will necessitate the dismissal of valuable employees, who have worked loyally with us." Raz's note was sent to all Maariv workers.

"Unfortunately, outside circumstances are such that we have no choice: [these cuts] are the only way we can ensure that Maariv sustains itself as a backbone of Israel's democratic society, and as a place of work for numerous employees," Raz said.

One cutback adopted by Maariv is the closure of its Journal daily culture section. Some parts of the section are being incorporated in Maariv's magazine.

The Maariv workers committee sent a letter to management and all newspaper employees yesterday, demanding that management negotiate with it and discuss the planned dismissals and cutbacks. The committee insists that management hold suspend dismissals until such negotiations begin.