Thursday, December 17, 2009

Knesset United Against Sheldon Adelson? (Israel Hayom)

While he may well have pissed off most American Jews over the years with his incessant funding of the right-wing lobbying group Freedom's Watch that he founded, I would not have expected this in Israel.

After all, Adelson has given quite a lot to Israel through his foundation: The Adelson Center for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center, $25 million annually etc. to Taglit-Birthright Israel, $30 million to Yad Vashem, etc.

But it seems like his goodwill has run out with his attempt to buy the free daily paper Israel Hayom.

According to Ha'aretz, 19 Knesset members from 8 parties have introduced a bill to ban foreign ownership of Israeli newspapers.

8 parties. That's quite impressive, considering that there are (if I counted correctly) 12 parties in the Knesset, and the 3 Arab parties almost certainly aren't supporting it, meaning that 8 of the 9 Jewish parties have MKs supporting the bill; I would lean towards Meretz or possibly UTJ as the holdout, but I haven't seen for sure and sadly, far too many Israeli websites (including the Knesset's equivalent of were designed for Internet Explorer only, meaning those of us who don't use Windows are out of luck.

However, despite this show of multipartisanship, it is unlikely to pass. This is partly because he and Netanyahu are BFF. The rest has to do with lobbyist power.

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