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Netanyahu’s Tape Scandal Explained: Will Secret Negotiations With Adelson’s Media Rival Force Him to Resign?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, with Miri and Sheldon Adelson at the inauguration of the Adelsons' School of Entrepreneurship, IDC Herzliya, Oct. 26, 2016. PHOTO: Haaretz/Ilan Assayag

A taped conversation between Prime Minister Netanyahu and the owner of a leading newspaper has shocked Israelis – here’s why.

By Allison Kaplan Sommer | 9 January 2017

HAARETZ — It’s a revelation that’s shaking up Israel’s political and media worlds as intensely as reports of a proposed secret deal between Donald Trump, CNN and Fox News would rock the United States.

In a wide-reaching investigation by Israel Police of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it was revealed Sunday that a tape exists of a conversation in which Netanyahu and media tycoon Arnon Mozes – owner of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper – appear to be hammering out a deal that would benefit them both.

The details of their negotiations are still unclear, but what can be pieced together from journalists’ coverage is that such a deal would offer financial and business advantages to Mozes in exchange for favorable coverage of Netanyahu.

That deal may have possibly involved shutting down parts – or even all – of the Israel Hayom newspaper, which is owned by Netanyahu’s political patron, the American-Jewish casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Such an arrangement would have restored print media dominance to Mozes’ daily, which Netanyahu previously accused of plotting his political downfall. During his last election campaign, Netanyahu charged Mozes himself with engineering “a systematic smear campaign against a sitting prime minister, in order to replace the government in Israel, for the sake of obvious business interests and personal profit.” […]

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