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Freewheeling Israeli Daily Shuts Down, Citing Poor Sales

November 29, 1993 GMT

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) _ The publisher of Hadashot, a daily known for its irreverent style and bouts with military censors, said Monday the newspaper would shut down because of persistent losses.

Amos Schocken told army radio he concluded ″there was no reason to continue″ after years of low circulation and declining advertising revenues.

″Hadashot did important things in Israel, but when I weigh the situation as a businessman and not a journalist, one can say that I failed,″ he said. ″It’s a sad day for me.″

Although Schocken refused to give figures, the radio put the tabloid’s circulation at only 10,000 and said losses in its nearly 10 years of publication were estimated at $20 million.

When Hadashot was launched in 1984 it was perceived as a lighter, somewhat populist alternative to the established evening dailies.

An irreverent style marked by short, punchy captions and use of Hebrew slang set Hadashot apart. It was also the first daily to use color and emphasize easily readable graphics and layout.

In its first year of publication, the paper was shut down for several days by Israel’s military censor after it published pictures of two Palestinian guerrillas being led away alive from the scene of a deadly terror attack by security forces.

The pictures sparked an investigation of the circumstances of their eventual death in custody. Subsequent disclosures of a cover-up by the Shin Bet security police caused a national scandal and resulted in new regulations governing interrogations.

Monday’s last issue featured a front-page picture of the mourning father of a Palestinian fundamentalist guerrilla gunned down by Israeli troops last week and an expose on police brutality in poor neighborhoods.

Schocken said ads in the paper were expected to further decline because of the introduction last month of commercial television.