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June 09, 2005

Ma'ariv: Ha'aretz Columnist Threatened Chief of Staff

When the Rehovot Magistrate's Court rejected a libel suit filed by Ramle Mayor Yoel Lavi against Ha'aretz, the Israeli newspaper publicized its exoneration in an article Tuesday.

Ha'aretz has been mum, though, in face of another recent accusation of serious journalistic misconduct. According to a recent Hebrew report in the Israeli daily Ma'ariv, Ha'aretz commentator Amir Oren threatened the outgoing Chief of Staff Ya'alon that he would move him "from the good guys list to the bad guys list" if he made a particular appointment that Oren did not approve of.

The Ma'ariv article states:

The incident happened in a conversation that took place between Ya'alon and Oren in the middle of 2004, in the context of Ya'alon's plan to appoint Elazar Stern to the position of the IDF's personnel branch. Ya'alon was stunned by threat, ended the conversation with Oren, and instructed IDF captains that they were not permitted to meet officially with Oren.

"I filed a complaint to the right person, but whoever it was decided not to do anything with this," Ya'alon said in an interview over the weekend. It became known to Ma'ariv that Ya'alon discussed the matter with the past editor of Ha'aretz, Hanoch Marmari, and with the current editor, David Landau. Neither adopted any stance against the journalist who made the threat. . .

Ha'aretz editor David Landau said in response: "If this journalist did indeed make these statements, this is not appropriate. I assume that it was said in a manner of jest. I do not think that an intelligent person would assume that this threat was said seriously. I am confident and sure that this affair between the Chief of Staff and the journalist did not have any ramifications or influence on the work of the journalist, and what was printed in the newspaper. The outgoing Chief of Staff did not turn to me until very close to the end of his tenure."

Posted by TS at June 9, 2005 03:24 AM