Adelson: I don't own Israel Hayom

An attorney for Sheldon Adelson tells Supreme Court that the newspaper is owned by an Adelson relative.

Gil Ronen ,

Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson

At a hearing Monday in the Supreme Court, attorney Avigdor Klagsbald disclosed for the first time that the newspaper Israel Hayom is now owned by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson but by one of Adelson’s relatives.

Klagsbald was presenting a petition by Adelson and Israel Hayom editor Amos Regev against a Jerusalem District Court ruling that ordered the Prime Minister’s Office to inform Channel 10 News journalist Raviv Drucker regarding the dates and times at which Adelson, Regev and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held three-way phone conversations between themselves.

Drucker and Channel 10 had submitted a Freedom of Information petition in an attempt to expose improper connections between Netanyahu and the newspaper.

Critics of Netanyahu have long claimed that Israel Hayom, which is distributed for free to the public, is a mouthpiece for Netanyahu – and they cite the friendship between Netanyahu and Adelson as proof of this.

Haaretz cited Klagsbald as saying that the ruling should be vacated because it may be based on incorrect facts – including the misconception that Adelson owns Israel Hayom.

Owner or not?

According to a December article in the Las Vegas Review Journal, which is owned by a media group that Adelson and his children purchased late last year, the freebie newspaper is run by Sivan Ochshorn Dumont, a daughter of Adelson’s wife, Miriam, from a prior marriage. However, Sheldon Adelson is described as the owner.

According to the Jewish Press, Adelson used a similar tactic in the purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In December, the paper ran a story saying Patrick Dumont, Adelson's son-in-law, had arranged the $140 million deal to buy the paper on Adelson's behalf. Dumont, 41, of New York, married Sivan Ochshorn, daughter from a prior marriage of Adelson's wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson.

"Sivan Ochshorn Dumont runs the Israel Hayom, which is owned by the casino mogul," noted the Vegas paper, later citing a source close to the Adelsons who said Dumont "handles all the investments for the family."

During the Tuesday court hearing, Klagsbald argued the order to compel should be revoked because it is likely that "the factual foundation according to which it was assumed that Mr. Adelson is the owner of Israel Hayom is erroneous" -- all this because technically, Adelson's stepdaughter is the owner and not Mr. Adelson.