Radical leftist newspaper Haaretz has been embroiled in controversy before, but a new report revealed by the famous Israeli Zionist rapper Yoav Eliasi, better known by his stage name Hatzel, raises serious question marks.
"The following matter left me simply in shock (as much as it is possible to still be shocked by the paper Haaretz...)," wrote Hatzel on Facebook. The shocking discovery: "Haaretz maintained in its basement a locked room that is a kind of temple of pictures praising terrorists."
The room was found by accident by a worker transferring equipment as part of the paper's move to a different building, said Hatzel, who received the report from the worker.
The worker "made a last check and came across a door that was always locked but this time was open, and in the room were dozens of pictures hanging just like a museum to terrorists," wrote Hatzel.
Hatzel noted that among those in the pictures were senior Fatah terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi, who led the faction's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades during the murderous terror war launched by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2000, along with "the dead of Al-Aqsa with flowers next to them, pictures of rock throwers and 'IDF crimes.'"
After stumbling across the room the shocked worker photographed it and sent it to Hatzel, relates the rapper. "How far can freedom of speech and freedom of the press be stretched?" he asked, in the post accompanied by pictures from the exhibit.
The rapper asked what the reaction would be if a right-wing paper was found to have a picture exhibit of Baruch Goldstein who murdered 29 Arab Muslims in Hevron, or the mentally ill Jewish man behind the burning to death of Arab teen Mohammed Abu-Khder last June.
"All of the newspapers would publish shocked headlines and the Shabak (Israel Security Agency - ed.) and the police would break in to the paper and close it down," wrote Hatzel. "So can someone explain to me why this passes quietly for the radical left?"
"Not just terrorists"
Haaretz owner Amos Shocken wrote to Hatzel in response, saying "it isn't a temple to terrorists and not a locked room, but rather an exhibition space to Israeli art that we opened in the office building we used."
Shocken claimed the exhibit was launched to explore the meanings of portraits in art, and included statues and photographs of many Israeli artists," some of them known and very respected in the world of Israeli art."
The exhibit was open to the public every Friday from last September up till last month, said Shocken, adding that the paper agreed to requests to open the exhibit during the week as well.
"In the display weren't just portraits of terrorists but also self-portraits of different artists and just portraits," stated Shocken. He added that the exhibit was meant to artistically express the conflict in Israel, saying "it's very natural. After all it's a central component of the reality of our lives."
Haaretz is partly owned by M. DuMont Schauberg, a German publishing house with a Nazi past. An additional owner is Russian-Israeli businessman Leonid Nevzlin, and the Schocken family owns a majority of the shares.
The paper has justified rock attacks on infants, called the IDF "war criminals," and outright called for an intifada, as well as a new low last October in which it published a cartoon of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a 9/11 terrorist.