Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Israel gets a second free daily

"Israeli," that country's first free daily, now has a competitor, "Israel Today," which is owned by one of men who started "Israeli." The new paper launched today with a circulation of 150,000 distributed at bus and train stations. The goal is to reach 300,000. (Jerusalem Post photo.)

Israel Today, or Israel Hayom, is owned by American casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who has close ties to former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to story in The Jerusalem Post, which explored the political aspects of the paper's ownership.

The 73-year-old Adelson (at left), who is No. 3 on Forbes list of richest Americans with a net worth of $20 billion, was partners with Shlomo Ben Tzvi of Hirsch Media in the country's first free daily, Israeli, which launched in January 2006. The partners got into a legal dispute and Adelson was barred from having any control over the operation of the Israeli. He then made an unsuccessful attempt to buy the paid Israeli paper Maariv. When that failed, he moved forward with his plans for Israel Today.

Israel Today won't be the last free daily that will open in that country. Read our July 2 item.