Journalist Raz Shechnik from the Yediot Aharonot newspaper revealed on Saturday that someone had prevented reporters from Yediot Aharonot and from its news website Ynet from taking part in the special flight to Abu Dhabi, scheduled to take place this week.
"Channels 11, 12, 13, Haaretz, Walla, the free newspaper (a reference to Israel Hayom -ed.), Jerusalem Post. There is room for everyone on the 'historic' flight to Abu Dhabi. But there was no room left for only Yediot Aharonot and the Ynet website remain. Nahum Barnea's huge scoop on the F35 deal for the Emirates was too much for Netanyahu and his people. Low, very low," he wrote.
Yediot Aharonot correspondent Itay Blumenthal tweeted, "The El Al 737-900 plane (4X-EHD) which will take off on Monday for Abu Dhabi has 175 seats. The senior officials will likely sit in one of the 16 business class seats, the journalists and the rest of the entourage will sit in economy class. In all of the 159 seats, not a single seat was found for a Ynet and Yediot Aharonot representative. What a disgrace. There is still time to fix it."
Meanwhile, right-wing journalist Shimon Riklin criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and said, "On Monday there will be a festive flight from Israel to the Emirates. Journalists are joining. Except one. Everyone on the left including Barak Ravid. Thank you to the Prime Minister for ignoring the right-wing camp. And thanks for helping those who have not yet understood why the right will never really rule here one day."
Arutz Sheva’s website also encountered a refusal on the grounds that there was no room left on the plane. Journalist Lital Shemesh similarly encountered a refusal and said, "I submitted an official request, including phone calls to the US Embassy, they told me 'there is no room' when all the other media outlets are on the plane. There are no words."
Globes editor Naama Sikuler tweeted, "Huge economic potential in the agreement with the Emirates? Apparently the Prime Minister's Office thinks not. Otherwise how can one explain the fact that there is not a single business reporter on the maiden flight?"