In a decision handed down Monday, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make public the list of phone calls he had with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who also owns the country’s largest daily newspaper, Israel Hayom.
Netanyahu will also have to hand over logs of all his conversations with Amos Regev, who until recently was the paper’s chief editor.
The decision was made in response to a request by investigative journalist Raviv Druker. He has been looking into Netanyahu’s ties with the Adelson-owned publication, which usually provided friendly coverage to the prime minister. Netanyahu argued in a lower court that Adelson and Regev are his personal friends, and therefore his conversations with them should remain private. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the public interest requires Netanyahu to reveal the times and dates of his calls.
While the content of the conversations will remain private, publishing the call log could help support or dispel the claim that Netanyahu maintained an open communication channel with Israel Hayom’s leadership, potentially allowing him to influence the content of the publication.
In recent months, Israel Hayom has changed its tone toward Netanyahu. In what was seen as a sign of a rift between Adelson and Netanyahu, the paper published a front-page opinion piece blasting Netanyahu’s handling of recent Temple Mount tensions.