So Israeli readers have been looking for alternatives. In Israel Hayom, they have found a paper where Israel and Netanyahu get the benefit of the doubt while Israel’s enemies are treated with a bit more suspicion, and where shady characters in the business and political worlds are not coddled. Apparently that suits many Israelis just fine.
Israel Hayom is simply doing a better job than Maariv, Yediot or Haaretz of competing for readership in the free marketplace of ideas. Let’s hear it for freedom and pluralism of the press.
Israel Hayom certainly has its faults, chiefly that at times it is slavishly and uncritically pro-Netanyahu. But that’s the real reason for liberal attacks on the paper and its owner, not any ersatz concern over Israel’s democratic soul.
What truly endangered Israeli democracy was the ideological orthodoxy and conformity that once characterized the Israeli media market. Yediot Aharonot, for example, held 70 percent of the readership on weekends, a near monopoly unheard of in any other democratic country.
Israel Hayom has brought a modicum of much-needed heterogeneity to the Israeli media, helping to ensure and heal Israeli democracy.
David M. Weinberg is director of public affairs at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a columnist for Israel Hayom. He blogs at www.davidmweinberg.com.