Israel Hayom: Feiglin: Anti-Israel Hayom Bill Should be Named ‘The Disgrace’
Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) on Thursday leveled scathing criticism at the “bill for the promotion and protection of the printed media in Israel,” which targets Israel Hayom by seeking to bar the distribution of free newspapers, saying that the bill should have been titled “the disgrace.”
“This bill doesn’t serve any public interest, only the interests of a private party,” he told Israel Hayom. “The MKs promoting this bill are doing the bidding of a certain party that has a vested interest in eliminating a competing newspaper.”
If the proposed legislation did not raise grave concerns, he said, “I would just laugh it away. I’ve never heard of a law seeking to bar the free distribution of something. You have to have a very vivid imagination to come up with something like that.
“I think whoever came up with this proposal has outdone himself. Frankly, I don’t understand how the people backing this bill can look at themselves in the mirror. How can you promote such a bill and look people on the street in the eye? Maybe we should tax people for breathing, or drinking water.”
Feiglin further negated the bill’s assertion of protecting the interests of the printed media in Israel, saying, “The only thing this bill seeks to protect is the interested party that wants to eliminate the competition.
“It is perfectly clear that the person introducing this bill isn’t interested in protecting the media, but is working for someone who has a clear interest in the matter. It is a disgrace to bring such a bill before the Knesset and I urge its supporters to pull it.”
According to Feiglin, “Every bill introduced by MKs serves some sort of interest. Some of those interests are ideological and others are financial, but what all bills have in common is that they all have a solid component meant to serve public interest, which just happens to serve other, hidden interests as well.
“In this case, there is no public interest — just a private one. The ‘return address’ here is very obvious and still, some MKs have shamelessly rallied behind this proposal. This bill should have been titled ‘the disgrace,'” he said.
Asked about the fact that Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett supports the bill, claiming that Israel Hayom supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s interests over Israel’s national interests, Feiglin suggested Bennett “simply stop reading it.”
“Israel Hayom has come out against me on more than one occasion. So what? So it likes Netanyahu better. So what? What business is it of mine who the newspaper likes better? Are other newspapers free of agenda? Israel Hayom promotes a certain agenda just like all other newspapers do. Judges have an agenda too.
“The politicians that support this bill are essentially saying, ‘I don’t like this newspaper’s agenda, so it must be shut down.’ The notion that a paper could be shut down by law in a democratic country simply for being distributed free of charge is inconceivable.
“It takes a lot of imagination and a lot of nerve to promote such a bill,” he concluded. “Maybe we should consider shutting down newspapers for being too expensive — not for being too affordable.”