Top pundit for Sheldon Adelson’s free daily – on PM Office payroll

Dr. Dror Eydar, known for his criticism of leftwing NGOs and his support for Netanyahu, has a contract for NIS 50,000 at the Prime Minister’s Office. According to Eydar, he has been advising Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon on the evangelical Christian community in America.

Another piece in the Netanyahu-Adelson puzzle was revelead yesterday when Channel 10 news reported that Dror Eydar, senior pundit for the free daily Israel Hayom, was hired by the Prime Minister’s Office for various speechwriting and consulting assignments.

Israel Hayom, launched in July 2007, is the most widely read paper in Israel. It is distributed for free, and, according to estimates, at a considerable financial loss. The paper is owned by American gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a friend and supporter of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Dr. Dror Eydar is known for his attacks on Israeli journalists who criticize the government and on human rights NGOs. Referring to the Israeli media, Eydar recently said that it is “the immoral advantage that the Left has.” Regarding the debate on proposed changes to the Supreme Court, which the government initiated and backed, Eydar wrote:

Netanyahu did exhibit leadership… The Likud’s brand of liberalism is more trustworthy. Netanyahu and his friends understand the historical distortion, and the fact that the legal system is embroiled in it, and are working to correct it and restore the public’s trust in this vital institution.

The contract for 2012 between Eydar and the Prime Minister’s Office is for NIS 50,000, more than half the average yearly income in Israel. Israel Hayom did not comment on the affair, and it is not known whether Eydar has reported the matter to his editors. What’s clear is that at no point were readers informed that Eydar is also working for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Israel Media Watch, a right-wing media watchdog group, has named Eydar as one of the finalists for the 2011 prize in media criticism (unfortunately, he didn’t win). The report in the settler paper Israel National News reads:

Among those nominated for the prize are Dr. Dror Idar, a columnist for Yisrael HaYom and Makor Rishon, a relentless critic of media improprieties, whom the IMW panel said provides a “fresh voice” in media criticism.

In a comment to Haaretz, The Prime Minister’s Office claimed that Eydar was hired by a different unit in the office and does not write speeches for Netanyahu himself. Eydar has told Channel 10 that he was advising “from time to time” Vice Premier Moshe  Ya’alon on work with the evangelical community in America.

A few days ago, Yossi Gurvitz has revealed on his +972 blog that the prime minister also employs known settler leader and the deputy editor of right-wing paper Makor Rishon as speechwriter.