JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jerusalem court approved the sale of the right-wing newspaper Makor Rishon and the NRG news website to billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Hayom company.
Adelson bid nearly $5 million for the purchase of both properties, which also includes the recently defunct daily Maariv newspaper. Israel Hayom will employ 95 percent of Makor Rishon and NRG workers for at least a year.
The sale approved Sunday by the Jerusalem District Court still needs the go-ahead from Israel’s Anti-Trust Authority.
Israel Hayom, a free daily distributed throughout Israel, began operating in 2007 and has the highest daily circulation of any Israeli newspaper.
Adelson, who made his fortune in casinos, is a major supporter of Republican candidates in the United States, and of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Israel Hayom is Pravda, it’s the mouthpiece of one man – the prime minister,” Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday. “At every point where there was a contradiction between the national interest and the prime minister, the paper always preferred the prime minister.”
Makor Rishon and NRG were put up for sale by Israeli businessman Shlomo Ben Tzvi and his family after poor sales of Maariv led to the combined company owing about $1 million to creditors and employees.