Monday, July 16, 2012

Israel’s ‘Maariv’ Sinks into Western Sunset

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Israel’s ‘Maariv’ Sinks into Western Sunset

Israel’s “Maariv” newspaper will cease to exist in print as it succumbs to the Internet and to the increasingly popular Yisrael HaYom free newspaper, according to Globes.

It is no secret that Maariv – a name based on the root meaning "evening" and "west" and which also refers to the Jewish evening prayers – has been in financial difficulty for years. Valiant efforts to inject new funds while cutting back staff have failed to save it, and it will gradually phase out its print edition, except for the Friday edition, Globes reported Monday.

The parent company, Maariv Holdings, plans to keep the center-right newspaper alive on the Internet with a digital edition.

The loss of Maariv’s daily print edition will leave Yisrael HaYom, owned by U.S. billionaire gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, as the only newspaper to give Yediot Acharonot a run for its money.

Yediot, which is distinctly center-left and considered by many media critics as tinged with yellow journalism, has led several political campaigns in the last few years. Almost in lockstep with Voice of Israel government radio, it helped promoted the expulsion of Jews from Gaza under the “Disengagement” policy, backed the campaign to free more than a thousand Arabs terrorists and security prisoners for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, and has consistently tried to cast Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a bad light.

Maariv has usually been more to the right, while Adelson is known as a strong supporter of Prime Minister Netanyahu, as is reflected in Yisrael HaYom.

The only other major national newspaper in Hebrew is the left-wing Haaretz, which has a relatively low circulation but is read by foreign journalists as a source when reporting on Israel.

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