Yisrael Hayom Journalist Defects to Yesh Atid


A veteran diplomatic correspondent for the pro-Netanyahu paper Yisrael Hayom is leaving to become a media adviser to PM Netanyahu opponent Yair Lapid, chairman of the opposition Yesh Atid party, Haaretz reported on Thursday.

Shlomo Cesana will end an 11-year career at Yisrael Hayom after running afoul of the Netanyahus. He signed a petition by diplomatic correspondents calling on PM Netanyahu to stop attacking the media, which reportedly elicited a negative reaction from Mrs. Netanyahu.

Cesana said that subsequently he was barred from the press delegation on several of the prime minister’s flights, and newspaper, owned by Sheldon Adelson, a longtime Netanyahu supporter, began publishing fewer of his articles.

On Thursday, Cesana discussed his departure in a social media posting: “After 25 years in journalism, including the past 11 years as political correspondent of ‘Yisroel Hayom,’ I am leaving and crossing the lines. It will be obvious to you that this is a very significant and difficult step for me. Up until now, journalism was an integral part of my life — part of what I am.

“So why did I leave? In the … media world, which is saturated with tension and subject to extraneous influences, the ability to maneuver and be an independent and influential actor has been eroded. I could have continued writing comfortably and remaining within my comfort zone, and even spent a little time with my children, but what kind of world would I be leaving to them, in which comfort takes precedence and priority over the motivation to make a change?”

Later in the day, it was announced that Dr. Miriam Adelson, wife of Sheldon Adelson, and co-owner of the newspaper with her husband, will succeed Asher Baharav as publisher.

CEO Zippi Koren’s departure was also announced. Both Baharav and Koren have held their position since the free newspaper was founded over a decade ago.

The Israeli-born Mrs. Adelson, 66, had a distinguished career in medicine before marrying the billionaire Adelson in 1991. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and Genetics from the Hebrew University, served as chief internist in an emergency room at the Rokach Hospital in Tel Aviv and worked in research at Rockefeller University in New York.

In recent years, she has been deeply involved in various philanthropic and business projects, and is presumably not a newcomer to Israeli politics.

Updated Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm