Netanyahu forced to reveal meetings with Adelson

Supreme Court orders PM to disclose dates of conversations held with owner of daily Israel Hayom, in response to petition by journalist.

Mordechai Sones ,

Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson

The Supreme Court today (Monday) forced Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to reveal the dates of talks he held with Yissrael Hayom newspaper's owners, Sheldon Adelson and former editor Amos Regev, in a petition filed by journalist Raviv Drucker against the head of the Freedom of Information bureau in the Prime Minister's Office.

In their decision, judges Neil Hendel, Uri Shoham, and Meni Mazuz overturned the decision of the District Court about a year ago, when the petition was rejected.

The judges ruled that "the public interest in exposing the information is of significant weight."

They rejected Regev and Edelson's claims regarding the violation of their privacy and stated that "the public interest in disclosing the requested information exceeds, in the circumstances, the right of Adelson, Regev, and the Prime Minister to privacy."

In the decision that Justice Mazuz and the other two judges wrote, he added that "private conversations between the office holder and a private individual (personal friend, family member, etc.) are not the same as conversations that are private in terms of content but the other side of the conversation is a player in the public arena, who has an affinity or influence in the public authority or in the public arena. The intention is for a person whose status, business, and occupation may be influenced by the decisions of government officials, and therefore there is a clear public interest in exposing the very nature of his ties with the government, as well as the nature and extent of these ties."

They also stated that "the change in roles 'upgrades' the public interest in revealing the various relationships, and shows that the appeal must be accepted in its entirety - without distinction between the different periods. In any event, we have not heard arguments on this level. On top of that, it should be added that there are not many daily newspapers in the country - certainly not of the scope of 'Israel Hayom' which has unique characteristics."