This is the way they express themselves in private conversations and this is what they think. Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman calls Haaretz “Der Sturmer,” the notorious Nazi propaganda tabloid; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers Haaretz one of Israel’s two greatest enemies, along with The New York Times. Even the denial issued by Netanyahu’s bureau over the remarks by Jerusalem Post editor, Steve Linde, was weak and foggy: “Iran is the greatest enemy,” with nary a word about Haaretz.
That is to be expected: the attack on Israeli democracy will not pass over Haaretz. Netanyahu and Neeman are expressing their worldview. They want Israel without the High Court of Justice, without nonprofit associations, without Haaretz. There is no point in explaining to them and their ilk the task of the press, particularly when the other protective mechanisms of democracy are being increasingly undermined. They will not understand.
A person who excoriates one of the world’s most widely-admired newspapers, The New York Times, attests more to his own character than to that of the object of his assault. But we shall say this to both of these individuals: Your Israel, the one you are shaping now, owes a great debt to Haaretz. No other media outlet gives Israel a better name than the one you attack. No other whisper coming out of Israel engenders so much respect for Israel because Haaretz is one of its newspapers.
Sometimes, it is even misleading. Quite a few people throughout the world mistakenly think Haaretz is Israel. No, Haaretz is not Israel, unfortunately, but it is a different voice – the minority voice, which must be heard. It proved every day, both locally and to the world, that Israel is not only Avigdor Lieberman.