Haaretz (Hebrew: הארץ‎‎) (lit. "The Land [of Israel]", originally Ḥadashot Ha'aretzHebrew: חדשות הארץ‎‎, IPA: [χadaˈʃot haˈʔaʁets] – "News [of] the Land [of Israel]") is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International New York Times. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet. In North America, it comes out as a weekly newspaper, combining articles from the Friday edition with a roundup from the rest of the week. It is known for its left-wing and liberal stances on domestic and foreign issues.

History and ownership

Haaretz was first published in 1918 as a newspaper sponsored by the British military government in Palestine. In 1919, it was taken over by a group of socialist-oriented Zionists, mainly from Russia. The newspaper was established on 18 June 1919 by a group of businessmen including prominent philanthropist Isaac Leib Goldberg, and initially, it was called Hadashot Ha'aretz ("News of the Land"). Later, the name was shortened to Haaretz. The literary section of the paper attracted leading Hebrew writers of the time.

The newspaper was initially published in Jerusalem. From 1919 to 1922, the paper was headed by a succession of editors, among them Leib Yaffe. It was shut down briefly due to a budgetary shortfall and reopened in Tel Aviv at the beginning of 1923 under the editorship of Moshe Glickson, who held the post for 15 years. The Tel Aviv municipality granted the paper financial support by paying in advance for future advertisements.

Salman Schocken, a wealthy German Jewish Zionist who owned a chain of department stores in Germany, bought the paper in 1937. His son, Gershom Schocken, became the chief editor in 1939 and held that position until his death in 1990.

Until August 2006, the Schocken family owned one hundred percent of the Haaretz Group, but then the German publisher M. DuMont Schauberg acquired 25 percent of the shares. The deal was negotiated with the help of former Israeli ambassador to Germany, Avi Primor. This deal was seen as controversial in Israel as DuMont Schauberg's father, Kurt Neven DuMont, was member of the German Nazi party, while his publishing house promoted Nazi ideology.

On 12 June 2011, it was announced that Russian-Israeli businessman Leonid Nevzlin had purchased a twenty percent stake in the Haaretz Group, buying fifteen percent from the family and five percent from M. DuMont Schauberg. This means that the Schocken family now owns sixty percent and M. DuMont Schauberg and Leonid Nevzlin have twenty percent each.

In October 2012, a union strike mobilised to protest planned layoffs by the Haaretz management. As a consequence, both the Haaretz newspaper and its TheMarker business supplement weren't printed for one day. According to Israel Radio, it was the first time after 1965 that a newspaper didn't go to press on account of a strike.

Management

The newspaper's editorial policy was defined by Gershom Schocken, who was editor-in-chief from 1939 to 1990. Schocken was succeeded as editor-in-chief by Hanoch Marmari. In 2004 David Landau replaced Marmari and was succeeded by Dov Alfon in 2008. The current editor-in-chief of the newspaper is Aluf Benn, who replaced Alfon in August 2011. Charlotte Halle became editor of the English Print Edition in February 2008.

Editorial policy and viewpoints

Haaretz describes itself as having "a broadly liberal outlook both on domestic issues and on international affairs". Others describe it alternatively as liberal centre-left, or left-wing. The newspaper opposes retaining control of the territories and consistently supports peace initiatives. Haaretz is editorially supportive of groups of Israelis who're exploited or discriminated against, such as sex workers, foreign workers, Israeli Arabs, and Ethiopian immigrants.

In 2006 the BBC said that Haaretz takes a moderate stance on foreign policy and security. David Remnick in The New Yorker described Haaretz as "easily the most liberal newspaper in Israel", its ideology as left-wing and its temper as "insistently oppositional". According to Ira Sharkansky, Haaretz's op-ed pages are open to a variety of opinions. J. J. Goldberg, the editor of the American The Jewish Daily Forward, describes Haaretz as "Israel's most vehemently anti-settlement daily paper". Stephen Glain of The Nation described Haaretz as "Israel's liberal beacon", citing its editorials voicing opposition to the occupation, the discriminatory treatment of Arab citizens, and the mindset that led to the Second Lebanon War. A 2003 study in The International Journal of Press/Politics concluded that Haaretz's reporting of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict was more favourable to Israelis than to Palestinians.

Formatting, circulation and reputation

Compared to additional mass circulation papers in Israel, Haaretz uses smaller headlines and print. Less space is devoted to pictures, and more to political analysis. Opinion columns are generally written by regular commentators rather than guest writers. Its editorial pages are considered influential among government leaders. Apart from the news, Haaretz publishes feature articles on social and environmental issues, as well as book reviews, investigative reporting, and political commentary. In 2008 the newspaper itself reported a paid subscribership of 65,000, daily sales of 72,000 copies, and 100,000 on weekends. The English edition has a subscriber base of 15,000. As of June 2011, readership was 5.8% of the public, down from 6.4% the prior year. In 2012, amid falling circulation, Haaretz was undergoing severe cuts (reportedly firing around twenty percent of its total workforce, and lowering salaries by between 15 and 35%), and cuts continued through 2013.

Despite its historically relatively low circulation in Israel, Haaretz has for a large number of years been described as Israel's most influential daily newspaper. Its readership includes members of Israel's intelligentsia and members of its political and economic elites. In 1999, surveys show that Haaretz readership has a higher-than-average education, income, and wealth and that most are Ashkenazim. While a few have argued that it functions for Israel much as The New York Times does for the United States, as a newspaper of record, others have compared its strongly left-liberal bias to Fox News's conservative bias. In 2007, Shmuel Rosner, the newspaper's former U.S. correspondent, told The Nation that "people who read it are better educated and more sophisticated than most, but the rest of the country doesn't know it exists." According to former editor of the paper, Hanoch Marmari, the newspaper has lost its political influence in Israel, because it became "detached" from the country's political life.

Criticism

Andrea Levin, executive director of the American pro-Israel Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA) said the newspaper was doing "damage to the truth" and at times making serious factual errors but not often correcting them.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz editor-in-chief David Landau said at the 2007 Limmud conference in Moscow that he had told his staff not to report about criminal investigations against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in order to promote Sharon's 2004–2005 Gaza disengagement plan.

Internet editions

Haaretz operates both Hebrew and English language websites. The two sites offer up-to-the-minute breaking news, live Q&A sessions with newsmakers from Israel, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere, and blogs covering a range of political standpoints and opinions. As of 5 October 2014, the English online edition has an Alexa rank of 2,683 worldwide and 2,861 in the United States. The two sites fall under the supervision of Lior Kodner, the head of digital media for the Haaretz Group. Individually, Simon Spungin is the editor of Haaretz.com (English) and Avi Scharf is the editor of Haaretz.co.il (Hebrew).

Offices

The Haaretz building is located on Schocken Street in south Tel Aviv. The Haaretz building contains art belonging to the paper's proprietor, Amos Schocken, a few of which has been described as politically subversive.

Journalists and writers

Present

  • Ruth Almog – literature, publicist
  • Moshe Arens – columnist
  • Noam Ben Ze'ev – music critic
  • Aluf Benn – editor-in-chief
  • Meron Benvenisti – political columnist
  • Bradley Burston – political columnist
  • Lily Galili
  • Doram Gaunt – food columnist
  • Avirama Golan
  • Michael Handelzalts – theatre critic, columnist
  • Amos Harel – military correspondent
  • Israel Harel – columnist
  • Danna Harman – feature writer
  • Amira Hass – Ramallah-based Palestinian affairs correspondent.
  • Avi Issacharoff – military correspondent
  • Sayed Kashua – satiric columnist, author
  • Uri Klein – film critic
  • Yitzhak Laor – publicist
  • Alex Levac – photo columnist
  • Gideon Levy – Palestinian affairs columnist
  • Yoel Marcus – political commentator, publicist
  • Merav Michaeli – cultural and political commentator
  • Amir Oren – military affairs
  • Anshel Pfeffer – political and military affairs
  • Tsafrir Rinat – environmental issues
  • Doron Rosenblum – satirist, publicist
  • Yossi Sarid – retired politician, publicist
  • Tom Segev – historian, political commentator
  • Ari Shavit – political columnist
  • Yair Sheleg – Jewish religious affairs
  • Nehemia Shtrasler – economic affairs, publicist
  • Simon Spungin – Managing Editor, English Edition
  • Ze'ev Sternhell – political commentary
  • Yossi Verter – political reporter
  • Esther Zandberg – architecture
  • Benny Ziffer – literature, publicist

Past