Report: Adelson Confirms PM’s ‘Interference’ in Yisrael Hayom Publishing

YERUSHALAYIM -
Sheldon Adelson, Sheldon, Adelson, Trumpp
Sheldon Adelson. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

More trouble appeared to be brewing for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. According to Channel Two, American billionaire Sheldon Adelson told Israeli police that Netanyahu asked him to consider canceling the publication of one of the weekend supplements of Yisrael Hayom, the newspaper he publishes that is distributed for free in Israel. The request was apparently turned down, as the paper did not reduce its size.

The allegation, if correct, could considerably complicate matters for Netanyahu in one of the investigations ongoing against him, known as Case 2000. The case involves the relationship between the prime minister and Yediot Acharonot publisher Arnon Mozes, who is alleged to have initiated a relationship with Netanyahu in order to get him to lean on Yisrael Hayom, his paper’s arch-rival, to limit its distribution. Netanyahu has often complained of the extremely negative coverage of him in Yediot, and Mozes’s staff has accused Yisrael Hayom of being Netanyahu’s “pet poodle” for its positive coverage of the prime minister. Mozes allegedly offered Netanyahu a deal – he would ease the negative coverage against the prime minister if Netanyahu would somehow “restrain” Yisrael Hayom, the free daily newspaper which has cannibalized Yediot’s sales for years.

Netanyahu has numerous times denied any wrongdoing, saying in a statement that he could report with “full confidence that there will be nothing because there is nothing. The only thing going on is the unceasing pressure of the media on law enforcement.” In a social media post Friday, Netanyahu said, “I am not going to discuss the noise in the background, and I am continuing the work that needs to be done.”

On Friday, Netanyahu’s former Chief of Staff, Ari Harow, signed a deal to turn state’s evidence in two cases Netanyahu is said to be involved in. Besides Case 2000, Harow could supply police with information about Case 1000. That investigation involves the prime minister’s relationship with Arnon Milchan, an Israeli-American businessman who investigators believe provided Netanyahu with expensive cigars over many years. According to the report, Netanyahu smokes cigars valued at between NIS 15,000 and NIS 20,000 per month. Each cigar Milchan gave to Netanyahu is said to be worth NIS 100. He is also accused of providing Netanyahu with champagne, with each bottle worth between NIS 300 and 400.