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US casino king, Sheldon Adelson, new owner of the national religious Major Rishon newspaper.

Gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, owner of the pro-Netanyahu Yisrael HaYom free newspaper, can move ahead with the purchase of the financially troubled Makor Rishon national religious newspaper, a Jerusalem court ruled Monday.

The purchase will include the online website of the Maariv newspaper but not the newspaper itself, which has been on the brink of shutting down for years.


The court accepted the argument that it was more urgent to save the jobs at Major Rishon rather than endanger the sale by forcing the inclusion of the newspaper. A receiver has turned down a bid by the Jerusalem Post for Maariv, arguing that it was too low. The English-language newspaper’s bid for Makor Rishon was lower than Adelson’s bid.

The sale will guarantee Adelson’s presence in Israel at the same time that several Knesset Members are trying to push through a bill that would forbid foreign ownership of a free newspaper. The legislation is a thinly-veiled maneuver to shove Adelson out of Yisrael HaYom because of its pro-government views.