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An Israeli media tamed to offer large business will abase to politicians, too

May 2009: Haaretz’s Yoram Gabison writes about crime involving Bank Hapoalim Chairman Danny Dankner. The bank had paid $25 million to a comment called RP for similar to relinquish a choice to buy a square of Turkey’s Bank Pozitif, that Hapoalim was acquiring.

Dankner neglects to news that RP does business with Elran, a association tranquil by Dankner and his relatives. Various Hapoalim executives are concerned in this story; a press and TV news mostly omit it.

Winter 2009: The tellurian financial predicament reaches Israel and hits a banks. The administrator of a Bank of Israel during a time, Stanley Fischer, final that Bank Hapoalim glow Dankner over irregularities and corruption. Hapoalim owners Shari Arison and a residence mount by their man. So does many of a business press, which, if it pounded anybody, pounded Fischer.

September 2010: Bank Hapoalim CEO Zion Kenan marries off his son. Most of Hapoalim’s biggest borrowers, who together owe Hapoalim tens of billions of shekels, attend a wedding. So do a editors, owners and managers of many of Israel’s newspapers and TV news channels.

According to calculations by TheMarker, people during a marriage control about 1.2 trillion shekels ($312 billion) in a public’s income about half a public’s savings. Yet few reporters lift an eyebrow during a participation of heading media people during a private celebration thrown by a CEO of Israel’s biggest bank. It’s a bank concerned in crime scandals that should be theme to despotic regulation.

Winter 2011: Kenan is hold for doubt and expelled to residence arrest. Kenan is suspected of bypassing correct procession to approve a 14-million-shekel loan for Dankner, who was authority of Hapoalim when he borrowed a income and who, it was transparent by then, would have problem repaying a loan.

Kenan okayed a loan formed on a fake matter of resources by Dankner. The probability that Kenan didn’t comprehend a matter was fake seems doubtful given that a categorical item Dankner reported was batch in a association going broke (Elran). The military suggest charging Kenan yet a assign closes a box for miss of justification and gives a commentary to a Bank of Israel. The executive bank does not endorse either it looked into a matter.

Summer 2011: Nochi Dankner, a biggest borrower in Israel (and cousin of Danny Dankner) marries off his daughter. The cream of a banking village arrives; a owners and editors of many newspapers dance impertinence by jowl, one large happy family. Outside a social-justice criticism rages yet a revelers rhumba on, assured a abandon of criticism will never strech them.

September 2011: TheMarker reveals a loyal debts of a IDB Group and a leader, Nochi Dankner, to Bank Hapoalim. It’s roughly 10 billion shekels, and a bank’s credit dialect is disturbed sick. IDB threatens to sue TheMarker, observant that a “questions we asked us are formed on a crude, fake and apparently counsel comparison of lies, half-truths and prejudiced numbers, and benefaction a warped, fake picture. The customarily source for information we effect to rest on in your ask is trusted banking information.”

October 2012: Danny Dankner is charged in a RP-Pozitif case. It’s a initial time a authority of an Israeli bank is charged with rapist actions. A year after he’s found guilty and condemned to 8 months in jail and a 1-million-shekel fine.

In a defence discount a assign waives a crime assign in sell for Dankner’s admission that he got Hapoalim to buy shares in Bank Pozitif from a businessman named Halit Cingillioglu. There was no avowal that Cingillioglu had duration organised a 5-million-euro loan, with 0 guarantees, for Danny Dankner. Part of that loan reached a bank comment belonging to Nochi and Orly Dankner during Bank Hapoalim to repay a loan Nochi had given his cousin.

July 2013: Haaretz’s Gidi Weitz and Yoram Gabison tell an exposé on crime and irregularities during Bank Hapoalim, centering on a Bank of Israel news about loans Kenan authorized for a series of entities including a Maariv news group. The media mostly ignores it.


Danny Dankner and Shari Arison.Moti Kimche

August 2014: TheMarker’s Sharon Shpurer reports about crime and irregularities during Bank Hapoalim going behind a decade. Most of a media ignores it. Months later, high-profile publisher Ilana Dayan interviews Bank Leumi’s new CEO, Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, and asks, for a initial time ever on Israeli TV, either there’s a “club” of bankers and tycoons who use a public’s income as if it were their own.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admits to TheMarker that there are borrowers in Israel who take hulk loans from a banks formed on belonging to that “club.”

July-August 2016: Nochi Dankner is found guilty of batch manipulation. The assign final 5 years.

Banks Hapoalim and Leumi join a suit to foreclose on resources owned by businessman Eliezer Fishman, who owns a determining seductiveness in a business journal Globes and a estimable seductiveness in Yedioth Ahronoth. The motions exhibit that Fishman has been carrying about 5 billion shekels in loans dark from open scrutiny.

Banks Hapoalim and Leumi has been rolling a loans over even yet they aren’t performing. After a debts have been rolled over for a decade, it turns out that a material covers customarily about a entertain or fifth of a debt, with a shareholders and business left to collect adult a pieces.

November 2016: Dayan reports that Bank Hapoalim paid millions of shekels to a womanlike worker who complains that Kenan, a former CEO, molested her. The subsequent day it turns out that tip people during Hapoalim knew about a emanate for weeks before Kenan resigned, evidently related to a government’s efforts to quell a compensate of tip executives.

The rapacious tycoons

This time line isn’t designed to convince people that Hapoalim is corrupt, that Israeli banking is too strong or that a banks have indulged in associate capitalism by giving swain loans to borrowers with domestic poke due to their distance or given they possess newspapers and control large promotion budgets. Most people seem to comprehend this already.

The purpose is to yield a opposite indicate of view, a some-more confident one maybe, about processes in a Israeli media, mainly given a social-justice protests of 2011.

Netanyahu’s assertive dispute on a open broadcasting house that’s due to reinstate a Israel Broadcasting Authority has been expel by a antithesis and a media as zero brief of tyranny. But Netanyahu is no Vladimir Putin or Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The categorical Israeli media has always served a powers that be; until 20 years ago it served a government, afterwards we had a decade of it portion large business.

Bank Hapoalim and a IDB Group are a ultimate example. Together they ruled over 400 billion shekels belonging to a public, infrequently routing supports to cronies while denying opportunities to enemies. They had a biggest promotion budgets and, directly or indirectly, saved many of Israel’s newspapers and TV channels. The foot of a tycoons and bankers was always on a neck of many Israeli media outlets; some frankly cooperated.

The media bulletin in those years, focusing on politics, served a large banks Hapoalim and Leumi and a tycoons. The categorical beneficiaries were a tycoons, who bought state-owned companies during discount prices and won supervision franchises and tenders, as good as seductiveness groups in a private and open sectors. The tycoons attacked consumers and pensioners; taxation militias attacked taxpayers. In a meantime, a media yammered on about left and right.


Stanley Fischer, former administrator of a Bank of IsraelTomer Appelbaum

Bank Hapoalim, with annual revenues of 15 billion shekels, has no problem slicing a 4-million-shekel check to an worker who could confuse a CEO. This is chump change given that Hapoalim is a corner stable for decades by a Bank of Israel and Finance Ministry.

Did Hapoalim’s categorical shareholder, Arison, not know what was happening? In 2009 and 2010, a tallness of a looting during a bank, when a supervision and residence were portion themselves and certain large borrowers, Arison shielded them and indicted critics of McCarthyism, including Fischer, a Bank of Israel governor.

But after Danny Dankner was sent to prison, Arison certified that she had been wrong. But no one was fervent to massage in her mistake.

Hapoalim and Leumi’s foot rests on a necks of many businesses in Israel. Over a past decade, these banks have also done loans to a large domestic parties and, again, to a owners of newspapers and radio channels. The banks also supply credit to many professionals like accountants, lawyers and economists.

The process used by Hapoalim’s Kenan, Chairman Yair Seroussi and a banks’ watchdogs to still a lady who complained about passionate nuisance is zero new. The banks have managed to conceal many of their crime scandals and improprieties, from lending billions to tycoons, evenly aiding taxation rascal in a United States, indulging in conflicts of seductiveness on their boards, and profitable scandalously high salaries to thousands of managers.

It’s a abuse of their distance and of mercantile concentration. In any economy where a handful of managers control hundreds of billions of shekels, a hurtful enlightenment will occur in that for them anything is possible. Quashing passionate nuisance complaints is partial of a enlightenment during institutions that control hundreds of billions of shekels. The extensive thoroughness of mercantile appetite in a hands of a few renders a institutions of corporate governance void.

Judge Ofer Grosskopf described a materialisation beautifully in a statute a year ago. In that case, he authorized a class-action suit opposite Discount Investments over a merger of a Maariv news group, that had been handling low in a red for years. More than a entertain billion shekels was poured in over dual years and not a singular executive during Discount Investments rose up, Grosskopf wrote. The organisation tranquil by Nochi Dankner’s IDB Group “volunteered” to financial Maariv after Bank Hapoalim had also lent income to a company, not lonesome by collateral.

The media business has been in a predicament for a decade. The internet broken a business model. But that isn’t relevant, given 12 years ago a Israeli media was during a tallness of a strength and profitability. And what did it use a resources on? Did it examine crime and ties between large income and government?

No. Most of a media belonged to a club. Remember, for many of a 1990s, Hapoalim, Leumi and a garland of monopolies owned Channel 2. Its antithesis Channel 10 was financed in a initial years by a billionaire Yossi Maiman, who also owned a gas tube whose solitary patron was a government. The Noni Mozes-Eliezer Fishman group, that relied on bank loans, was partial of that group, and Maariv’s publisher Ofer Nimrodi was convicted twice of crimes. That was a state of a media.

Tocqueville Co.

Today a Israeli media is underneath heated financial aria and is also underneath a ascent hazard from a primary apportion on one side and absolute business elements on a other. But a norms are starting to change. Journalists don’t uncover adult during each tycoon’s round anymore, or dance during politicians’ weddings.

The media bulletin no longer serves customarily those in power. Ask Kenan, a Dankners (when Danny Dankner gets out of jail) and appetite nobleman Yitzhak Tshuva. And ask Netanyahu, too. His intriguing opposite a media boomerangs right behind during him.

If we have a sense that many newspapers offer Netanyahu today, you’ve mislaid a days of Ehud Olmert and before him Ariel Sharon, when few media outfits explored corruption. Netanyahu has casino aristocrat Sheldon Adelson; Olmert had a Yedioth group’s Noni Mozes. The categorical disproportion is that currently it’s all out in a open.

Israel’s domestic system, as in many democracies, always has a ruling bloc and an opposition. There are constantly zero-sum battles between domestic centers of power, and mud always comes out. Certain people have a good seductiveness in a mud entrance out.

But in private business, it always pays for a centers of appetite to concur opposite a open or regulators posterior reforms. The media will therefore customarily cite not to confront mercantile centers of power.

The fear that newspapers that pass into a hands of a primary minister’s associates, or tycoons wanting available regulation, will start portion their interests is warranted. After all, some of those now wailing a state of a media applauded when a Dankners took over Maariv 5 years ago.

Each explained that it’s for a good of democracy. They couldn’t seem to grasp a dispute of seductiveness between a journal that’s ostensible to news but fear and influence on a powers that be, while that journal is owned by a business pyramid that controls hundreds of billions of shekels of a people’s money. Meanwhile, a infancy of that pyramid’s businesses are theme to supervision regulation.

There are dual scenarios for a destiny of a Israeli media. An increasingly renouned one is a Erdoganization or Putinizaton of a media. Adelson and other tycoons related to Netanyahu would buy other newspapers, and in a meantime he’d tame a TV networks regulating a regulatory agencies.

The other unfolding is that new or existent tycoons would buy a papers in team-work with politicians battling Netanyahu. The customarily disproportion is that a political-economic structure would be called “centrist” instead of “right-wing.”

Could there be a third unfolding in that some media outlets sojourn eccentric of politics complement or large business?

Thomas Jefferson once pronounced that if he had to select between “a supervision but newspapers or newspapers but a government, we should not demur a impulse to cite a latter.”

Newspaper Publisher Joseph Pulitzer said: “There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a clamp that does not live by secrecy. Get these things out in a open, report them, dispute them, gibe them in a press, and earlier or after open opinion will brush them away.”

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis pronounced object is a best disinfectant; Alexis de Tocqueville pronounced that but a giveaway press, complicated multitude can't exist.

The list of intellectuals, philosophers and leaders who accepted that but an eccentric press democracy can't exist is long. The reporters are now revelation themselves that a people have mislaid their faith in them given of Netanyahu or a internet. They should demeanour deeper.

The categorical hazard to a media, some-more than Netanyahu and collapsing business models, is a really enlightenment and ethics: either it serves a powers that be or stands adult to them. Reporters who served tycoons and bankers will fast offer assertive politicians and launch crusades opposite reporters perplexing to display them.

Owners of newspapers and TV channels that did deals with tycoons won’t demur to do a same deals with a government. Today it’s Netanyahu and Adelson; tomorrow another aristocrat with another bank could uncover adult with another newspaper, another TV channel and another politician.