Throughout much of Israel’s history, the Maariv daily was known as the “country’s paper,” the newspaper with the highest circulation and a cornerstone of Israeli media. Now it is on its last legs – the victim, some say, of a Jewish-American billionaire who is a close friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson launched his free “Israel Hayom” or “Israel Today” daily five years ago. The tabloid has steadily gobbled up market share since then. Handed out by ubiquitous distributors clad in red overalls at busy intersections, it has become the most read newspaper in Israel.
The 64-year-old Maariv has suffered in the fallout. The newspaper was sold this month by its cash-strapped owner to a rival publisher. Most of its 2,000 employees are facing likely dismissals.
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