Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Trouble in Haaretz, Too: Strike on Thursday

Two newspapers suffer economic aftershocks of "social protest" that they themselves fueled last year.
By Gil Ronen and AFP
First Publish: 10/3/2012, 8:15 PM

Maariv workers demonstrate.
Maariv workers demonstrate.
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Ultra-leftist newspaper Haaretz will not be printed Thursday. Its workers prepared Wednesday for an expected eight-hour strike against planned layoffs.

Haaretz itself reported that employees would begin the work stoppage at 4:00 p.m. (1400 GMT) "in protest over the planned dismissal of up to 100 employees and the claim that management is not negotiating with them over the firings and other cutbacks."

"The sanctions may affect publication of Thursday's Haaretz newspaper in both Hebrew and English, but are not expected to affect Friday's paper," it added.

"The newspaper's Internet sites will also be affected."

Globes business daily quoted a member of the Haaretz staff union as saying that Thursday's edition would definitely not appear. "There will be no Thursday edition, period," it said.

Last week staff at the Tel Aviv daily, which also publishes an English-language edition, held an initial stoppage of around two hours, as well as a demonstration that partially blocked the street outside its headquarters.

Meanwhile, the crisis at another newspaper, Maariv, continues. About 200 employees of the debt-laden daily demonstrated Wednesday evening outside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's official Jerusalem residence, demanding that he intervene to save the struggling newspaper industry.

"We are here, hundreds of Maariv workers outside the prime minister's house... because the printed news industry is collapsing," Maariv parliamentary correspondent Arik Bender told Voice of Israel public radio.

"If the state and the government do not intervene we will eventually end up with one newspaper only," Bender said, as Voice of Israel observed a one-minute silence on its early-evening news in solidarity with print colleagues.

Maariv was sold to the publisher of a nationalist daily last month and job cuts are expected to run deep.

Haaretz quoted its publisher, Amos Schocken, as saying that redundancies would go ahead despite the protests.

"It is regrettable that the union doesn't understand that something has happened in the newspaper industry that requires adapting expenditures to the reality of the business," Schocken added.

Ironically, the losses incurred by Maariv and Haaretz – and all other Israeli press outlets – are to no small degree the result of their own political activism. In the summer of 2011, Israel's media gave unlimited and enthusiastic coverage to the left-wing "social protests" against the government. The papers encouraged Israeli citizens to pour out into the streets, and greatly contributed to the protests' success.

These protests demanded socialistic reforms that caused trepidation among Israel's larger investment "tycoons." As a result, these businessmen began to invest less in marketing and advertising new products in Israel – causing a severe slump in the newspapers' revenues.

An attempt to reignite the social protests in the summer of 2012 failed dismally, because the media no longer cooperated with the protests.