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Top pundit for Sheldon Adelson's free daily - on PM Office payroll

Dr. Dror Eydar, known for his criticism of leftwing NGOs and his support for Netanyahu, has a contract for NIS 50,000 at the Prime Minister’s Office. According to Eydar, he has been advising Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon on the evangelical Christian community in America.

Another piece in the Netanyahu-Adelson puzzle was revelead yesterday when Channel 10 news reported that Dror Eydar, senior pundit for the free daily Israel Hayom, was hired by the Prime Minister’s Office for various speechwriting and consulting assignments.

Israel Hayom, launched in July 2007, is the most widely read paper in Israel. It is distributed for free, and, according to estimates, at a considerable financial loss. The paper is owned by American gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a friend and supporter of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Dr. Dror Eydar is known for his attacks on Israeli journalists who criticize the government and on human rights NGOs. Referring to the Israeli media, Eydar recently said that it is “the immoral advantage that the Left has.” Regarding the debate on proposed changes to the Supreme Court, which the government initiated and backed, Eydar wrote:

Netanyahu did exhibit leadership… The Likud’s brand of liberalism is more trustworthy. Netanyahu and his friends understand the historical distortion, and the fact that the legal system is embroiled in it, and are working to correct it and restore the public’s trust in this vital institution.

The contract for 2012 between Eydar and the Prime Minister’s Office is for NIS 50,000, more than half the average yearly income in Israel. Israel Hayom did not comment on the affair, and it is not known whether Eydar has reported the matter to his editors. What’s clear is that at no point were readers informed that Eydar is also working for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Israel Media Watch, a right-wing media watchdog group, has named Eydar as one of the finalists for the 2011 prize in media criticism (unfortunately, he didn’t win). The report in the settler paper Israel National News reads:

Among those nominated for the prize are Dr. Dror Idar, a columnist for Yisrael HaYom and Makor Rishon, a relentless critic of media improprieties, whom the IMW panel said provides a “fresh voice” in media criticism.

In a comment to Haaretz, The Prime Minister’s Office claimed that Eydar was hired by a different unit in the office and does not write speeches for Netanyahu himself. Eydar has told Channel 10 that he was advising “from time to time” Vice Premier Moshe  Ya’alon on work with the evangelical community in America.

A few days ago, Yossi Gurvitz has revealed on his +972 blog that the prime minister also employs known settler leader and the deputy editor of right-wing paper Makor Rishon as speechwriter.

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    1. Danny

      This is what happens when a government has no opposition. Netanyahu is merely doing what comes naturally to him – cementing his authority in every possible way. He knows that his propaganda newspaper is the most widely read rag in the country, and he’s just making sure its message is clear, that’s all (what better way than to use tax payer’s money to grease the propaganda wheels??) Netanyahu has grand visions of a Putinocracy or a Berlusconi Republic (“Silvio, my friend”). And in 10 years time we will wake up and, like the Russians and the Italians today, ask: How the hell did we allow this guy to rule us for so long???

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    2. berl

      I am not a ‘smolanit’ but everybody knows that Dror Eydar is just a little slave of power. nothing to do with real journalism.

      danny, berlusconi is gone and now monti is in power. netanyahu, on the contrary, is still there and is building up his dreamed fascist state day after day

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    3. Sarah Anne

      Thanks for this great piece, Noam. One small correction: the distribution of Yisrael Hayom started in July 2007, not 2011.


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    4. Piotr Berman

      I do not like those flaks, but I do not understand what makes the described event fishy.

      Mister X works for a newspaper, and he also gets a part time consulting job from entity Y. Mister X gets a fee and on his day job writes very enthusiastically about entity Y.

      The newspaper is basically created to write enthusiastically about entity Y.

      It is hard to see who is influencing whom in this episode. Mister X is actually performing some work for the fee, and I dare say that a randomly selected BA of liberal arts would not be able to copy/paste phrases cited by Noam without dissolving in laughter or getting drunk (If I could get 50,000 shekels for that, I would copy/paste from editorials of Israel Harel who is very patriotic and would not mind, and of course I would not touch any more originally looking phrases as they may be a bit risky; however, I am not sure if I could finish such a job due to hazards described above.)

      Mr. X is apparently not biased in his opinionating by the fee from entity Y because he was specifically hired by his newspaper to have such a bias. So the causal chain may be that after proving his mettle as a newspaper flack, Mr. X can also provide some verbiage for the entity. Makes me wonder how to get noticed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry to write for them.

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    5. Piotr Berman

      I am trying to complete this paragraph of Mrss. Medad and Pollak: “THE MEDIA has the ability to weaken democracy by permitting non-elected elites to become dominant.”

      … For example, an unelected bussiness tycoon can shamelessly package sport commentaries, gardening news etc. with toxic propaganda to make further his hobby as a kingmaker, thus media provides an additional channel for to converting power of money into political power.

      As I resumed reading, I discovered that the actual completion was much more original. Namely there exists some leviathan-like creature called “the Left” that absolutely unfairly produces newspapers read by a minority even though it receives votes only from a minority. Since English is my second language, I checked “unfair” in the dictionary: “disproportionate; undue; beyond what is proper or fitting”. [This sentence was contributed by Dr. Dror, since I studied logic in my university years, I have some idea what Dror did not study.]

      Reading Dr. Dror presents similar hazards as trying to emulate his writing. However, you guys at 972 magazine are made of stern stuff. Could someone interview Dr. Dror and get explanation how Israel should operate as a FAIR country? No criticism, no polemics, just explanation how Israel would look, media, courts, NGOs, parties, would Dr. Dror had Hashem’s ear for an hour or so?

      In logic it is called “model”, the idea is to check if “fairness”, as conceived by Dr. Dror, is possible, and if it is, what would it take.

      Part of the puzzle is that Polish right wing makes very similar complaints. However, they lost two elections in a row, so when they talk about “advantage” then some advantage, fair or unfair, exists.

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    6. @Sarah – thanks, typo corrected.

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    7. Steve

      Good to see Sheldon Adelson supporting Israel!

      Reply to Comment