Jewish billionaire and Netanyahu supporter Sheldon Adelson had a lot to say Wednesday at Beit Hanassi when journalists began to ask him whether he was going to close down his newspaper Yisrael Hayom, which rumor had it had been founded solely to put Netanyahu into office.
Declaring that any suggestion of closure was a figment of the imagination of Yediot Aharonot columnist Nahum Barnea, Adelson denied that his publication had been established to serve Netanyahu's campaign. "My purpose in starting Yisrael Hayom was to have a fair and balanced paper," he said. He also charged that Yediot Aharonot had denigrated his newspaper before he even started it.
Contrary to what has been published in numerous Israeli media outlets, Adelson, though pleased that Netanyahu is now prime minister, stated that his paper, though critical of Olmert, had not been established to boost Netanyahu. 'We're simply friends. We have the same views. We're also honored to be acquainted with Shimon Peres, and his views are different from ours.'
Asked what he expected from Netanyahu, Adelson enigmatically replied: "I expect from Netanyahu what I expected from Olmert."
The Adelsons have known Olmert for a long time. In fact he was health minister at the time that Miriam Adelson opened her drug abuse clinic in Tel Aviv. "We've always considered Olmert a friend,' said Adelson, "though I'm not sure he considers us friends."
Adelson, who had attended the Knesset session the previous day, was shocked by the lack of dignity. He also considers the political gossip in the newspapers to be "shameful."
Political and other gossip has long haunted the Netanyahus, so much so that the prime minister felt compelled to defend the honor of his wife when making his address.
Because it is known that there is a long and close relationship between the Berkovits and Netanyahu families, Dr. Tvika Berkovits was badgered by broadcast media to talk about Sarah Netanyahu, who had declined requests for interviews. Berkovits defended her even more than her husband had done, describing what a marvelous, wife, mother, daughter and friend she was, and how much she did for the less fortunate. None of the negative things that been said or written about her were deserved, he said.
Binyamin, Sarah and Yair Netanyahu emerged into the sunlight after a tete-a-tete with Peres. Netanyahu got in to silver V8 Land Cruiser and went back to work, while Sarah and Yair Netanyahu headed for home on nearby Gaza Road. Soon, they will have to move into the prime minister's residence on the corner of Smolenskin and Balfour Streets, but whenever possible, they'll head for their holiday home in Caesarea, where they can relax and partially escape the spotlight.