The Write Stuff: Israel Hayom Columnist Moonlighting at PMO

Dror Eydar, a senior columnist for the Israel Hayom newspaper, is on the payroll of the Prime Minister's Office, with which he has a contract to "write speeches and lectures," for NIS 50,000 a year, Channel 10 reported yesterday.

Eydar has covered the assaults on various media outlets in Israel and frequently pens columns accusing the media of being hostile to Netanyahu.

Israel Hayom, owned by American Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is considered to have a right-wing, pro-Netanyahu slant. Adelson has contributed considerable sums of money to Netanyahu's election campaigns.

The Prime Minister's Office said that Eydar does not write speeches for Netanyahu, but is engaged "by a different unit in the Prime Minister's Office." Haaretz has learned that Eydar wrote speeches and lectures for Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon, whose ministry is considered a sub-unit of the Prime Minister's Office.

The contract revealed by Channel 10 runs from December 1, 2011 to November 30, 2012. Eydar told Channel 10 that he had also received payments from the Prime Minister's Office in the past as an adviser on issues relating to Evangelical Christians.

Several days ago, blogger Yossi Gurvitz revealed that the Prime Minister's Office also employs Uri Elitzur, the deputy editor of right-wing paper Makor Rishon, to write speeches. Elitzur, who served as Netanyahu's bureau chief during the latter's first term as prime minister, receives a symbolic wage of one shekel a year.

The Prime Minister's Bureau confirmed that Elitzur had written speeches for Netanyahu, but added, "Of the hundreds of speeches the prime minister gave in 2011, only 24 were written with the help of outside sources."