PM Won't Give Traditional New Year Interview

Contrary to tradition Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will not follow the precedent and give an interview to the press on the eve of the New Year. It has been customary for the prime minister to give interviews twice a year to the media, before the New Year and Passover.

Last week Olmert considered giving interviews to Haaretz and the other main dailies, but in the end decided against it.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Bureau clarified yesterday that this is not a change of policy about granting interviews on holidays, but only applies to this Rosh Hashanah. In explanation, a source in the Prime Minister's Bureau said that Olmert is being asked to grant about 25 separate interviews, which would take three full working days. The same source stressed that Olmert is keen to focus on the talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and retain a level of confidentiality on sensitive issues.

Another reason for not granting interviews was described as journalists' bid "to anger the prime minister in an effort to get a better headline than their competitors that day."