War of the Newspapers

War broke out in Israel today and the weapon is newsprint. After weeks of delay due to technical and personnel difficulties, the long awaited newspaper Hayom Haze (This Day) edited by former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan made its appearance to challenge the hegemony of Israel’s two mass circulation afternoon dailies Maariv and Yediot Achronot.

The first edition contained 24 pages, only four of which carried news and two of the latter were devoted to sports. There was no article by Dayan who has become a controversial figure since the Yom Kippur War and a thorn in the side of the Labor Party establishment. Hayom Haze is backed by two advertising agencies and the first edition was adorned by many more advertisements than is usual for a new, untested paper.

Maariv and Yediot, each of which claims over 200,000 daily circulation and more than a quarter of a million on weekends, were ready with their own big guns. Obviously prepared well in advance for the press war, Maariv came out today with regional special editions that devote several pages to local items from various parts of Israel. Yediot, on its part, brought forth a magazine-type second edition.

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