Democracy is loved

Loved and hated

The development of the State of Israel is a success story. Since it was founded in 1948, the country has held its own under the most difficult circumstances and numerous crises. Even so, it continues to face serious threats in the 21st century. Not only through Iran and its allies, but also through internal social tensions.

The failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process over the years created a divided civil society in which the current government is pushing for Jewish nationalism and not developing a strategy to end the occupation in the West Bank.

Democracy One of the strongest advocates of liberal democracy in Israel is the daily »Haaretz«, which is now celebrating its 100th anniversary. Its first edition appeared in Jerusalem on Sivan 20, 5679 (June 18, 1919). It was the first Hebrew newspaper in the British Mandate of Palestine.

It was the first Hebrew-language newspaper in the British Mandate.

"We are the only critical public authority in Israeli society," claims editor-in-chief Simon Spungen. The 46-year-old has been working for the paper, which is now based in Tel Aviv, for two decades. Among other things, he heads the newsroom with over 100 employees and appreciates the relaxed working atmosphere. "Freedom of the press and opposition are cornerstones of a democracy, and both are part of our philosophy."

CONSCIENCE The Gazette is considered the conscience of Israel and has been known for decades for its quality journalism - with well-researched articles, reviews and columns. The German-Jewish businessman and book publisher Salman Schocken took over the paper in 1937, which emerged towards the end of the First World War from an official administrative document of the British colonial authorities - »The Palestine Post« - and became a cultural institution for the Jewish population in the Holy Land.

Schocken made sure that his eldest son Gershom became editor-in-chief. This held the positions until his death in 1990. After that, his son Amos became the chairman of the board.

In the 1990s, the newspaper struggled with economic problems, which resulted in severe staff cuts. In November 2006, the Cologne publishing house M. DuMont Schauberg bought 25 percent of the share capital of the Haaretz Group. The money was mainly invested in expanding local weekly newspapers and building up the Internet business. Five years later, the Russian-Israeli businessman Leonid Nevzlin secured a 20 percent stake in the company, which is still controlled by the main shareholders of the Schocken family and has been publishing an English-language edition since 1997 in addition to the business newspaper "The Marker".

DISH "While much of the mainstream media and the public discourse in Israel have changed, Haaretz is one of the few media outlets that is still not afraid to take the government to justice and, above all, to sharply criticize the way it treats the Palestinian population." says Yaron Tsur, professor of Jewish history at Tel Aviv University. He describes the liberal daily as "extraordinary and outstanding in the Israeli media landscape" in many ways.

"Nonetheless, her often provocative texts have made her the number one public enemy for many right-wing politicians and also national religious citizens." In fact, some well-known journalists such as Amira Hass and Gideon Levy - who made a career through often exaggerated criticism of Israel - often receive death threats . Quite a few accuse the authors of “Jewish self-hatred” and a proximity to the anti-Israel BDS campaign.

GUEST AUTHORS But Haaretz also publishes a large number of articles by authors from a broad political spectrum. This ranges from Likud hardliners to guest authors from the Arab and Muslim world to left-wing exponents of the peace movement.

Critics accuse the authors of "Jewish self-hatred" and closeness to the BDS movement.

"Our Hebrew edition is read by around 110,000 subscribers," says Spungen. »This number includes print and digital subscriptions. The English-language edition, which is enclosed with the New York Times, which is distributed in Israel, has several thousand subscribers. "

"Haaretz is admired by many people for their courage and is hostile to a large part of the population," he explains. "The newspaper always saw itself as an opposition and from the beginning has dealt critically with politics, the military and culture."

According to the New York Times, Haaretz is by far the most liberal newspaper and institution in a country that has moved inexorably to the right over the past ten years. "We are a critical advocate of Israeli democracy and one of the few media in our country that continues to criticize politics in the occupied territories and also write about equal rights for all citizens," says Spungen. “We see ourselves as Israeli patriots. You can't agree with our criticism, but a liberal democracy has to be able to withstand something like that. "