'Something Bad is Happening to Bennett'
Dror Eidar, senior opinion writer for Yisrael Hayom, attacked Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett Monday for comparing Yisrael Hayom to Pravda, the government-controlled party newspaper in Soviet Russia which was known for distorting the truth in the service of the government.
“Naftali is a friend of mine, and when he entered politics, I was glad,” Eidar said on Galei Yisrael radio. “I feel that something bad has happened to Naftali Bennett – he has become too much of a politician and too little of an ideologue, his perspective has become a short one, not an historic one.
"He is trying to drive a wedge among the people who love the Land of Israel and the nationalist camp, and to present Yisrael Hayom as being outside that camp,” Eidar accused.
Yisrael Hayom is a freebie newspaper owned by American mogul Sheldon Adelson, who is perceived as being close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Makor Rishon, for the past several years, has been owned by Shlomo Ben Tzvi and in recent years catered mostly to a religious Zionist audience. Tensions between secular nationalists and religious ones can be seen in the tense atmosphere between Netanyahu and Bennett – and also, it seems, in a rivalry between Yisrael Hayom and Makor Rishon.
Eidar expressed disappointment with Bennett, noting that it had been Yisrael Hayom that opposed the “ugly campaign” that Yediot Aharonot recently waged against the Hesder yeshivas. .
"In our newspaper, they criticize Naftali Bennett, but they know full well who makes up the paper's target population,” he added, and part of that public is the religious sector. “Yisrael Hayom is the only one that stands up for the settlement establishment and today's pioneers.”
"At last there is one news source that hits back,” Eidar added. “At first I was with Makor Rishon, but it was on the sidelines. Finally, Yediot's monopoly has been brought down.”
Eidar noted that the Jewish Home party had co-sponsored a bill that would make free distribution of Yisrael Hayom illegal, writing with puzzlement: “Shutting down a media outlet? Seriously. So they attacked Naftali Bennett. So? I expect a person who wants to lead the national camp – I mean, he does not intend to stay in the Jewish Home – to ride this out. So what if they attacked him?
Eidar vowed that Makor Rishon would remain completely independent. He said, however, that it would have to become less religious than it currently is.