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November 2, 2014 1:44 pm

Israel Hayom Bill Passes Knesset Committee Reading

avatar by Tzvi Zucker / Tazpit News Agency

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Distribution of copies of Israel Hayom in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Popular Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom is facing Knesset legislation threatening its business model. The paper, owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is currently free, and boasts a 26.6 percent market share – the largest in Israel.

A bill submitted by Member of Knesset Eitan Cabel (Labor), which targets Israel Hayom specifically, passed its committee reading on Sunday, and a full Knesset vote will take place on Wednesday. Interestingly, the bill was not brought to vote in the committee, but was simply passed for voting.

The proposed law legislates the four top newspapers by subscription, and mandates that the price of the newspaper with the lowest cost be no less than 70 percent of the next cheapest newspaper’s price. This would ensure that Israel Hayom could no longer be given out for free. The bill does not affect any other newspaper.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni made no attempt to hide the fact that the bill is targeting the paper, saying “My stance is clear. Israel Hayom is not a newspaper, it is election propaganda funded by someone very problematic with a worldview that goes against Israel’s interests.”

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