A recent article in The Economist (A Tough Deal to Swallow, April 8th), about the framework agreement putatively reached in Lausanne, suggested that Jerusalem was now sending signals that a possible Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear sites was back on the table.
LAST Friday, on the morning after the P5+1 group of world powers and Iran announced a framework for a nuclear agreement in Lausanne, Israeli tabloid Yisrael Hayom carried a rare interview with military planning chief Major General Nimrod Shefer. The interview had been conducted before the deal was reached in Switzerland but under the assumption one would be agreed. Mr Shefer, a combat pilot, made it clear that if Israel felt it was facing an Iran about to develop a nuclear weapon, it would feel free to attack: just as it bombed nuclear reactors in Iraq in 1981 and in Syria in 2007.
The Economist then attempted to explain the significance of the warning by Major General Shefer in his Israel Hayom interview.
Yisrael Hayom is a freesheet owned by Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul and supporter of Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister. Its headlines are routinely approved by the prime minister’s office.
Whilst it is widely understood that Israel Hayom is staunchly pro-Netanyahu (it’s dubbed “Bibiton”, a play on Netanyahu’s nickname and the Hebrew word for newspaper), our colleagues at Presspectiva, CAMERA’s Hebrew website, have never before come across the specific charge, anywhere in the Israeli media, that the paper’s headlines are actually approved by the prime minister’s office.
We’ve contacted editors at The Economist asking if they can provide a source for this claim.
We’ve also been in touch with a spokesperson for Israel Hayom.
We’ll update you when we receive our replies.
See an important update to this post here.