Mass media in Israel

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Israeli newspapers in 1949

There are over ten different languages in the Israeli media,[1] with Hebrew as the predominant one. Press in Arabic caters to the Arab citizens of Israel, with readers from areas including those governed by the Palestinian National Authority. During the eighties and nineties, the Israeli press underwent a process of significant change as the media gradually came to be controlled by a limited number of organizations, whereas the papers published by political parties began to disappear. Today, three large, privately owned conglomerates based in Tel Aviv dominate the mass media in Israel.[2]

Censorship in Israel is exercised when it is certain that publication of the item in question would harm public safety. When an item is censored, the newspaper may appeal the censor's ruling to a "committee of three," composed of a member of the public (who serves as the chairman), a representative of the army and a representative of the press. The decisions of the committee are binding, and over the years it has in many cases overruled the decision of the censor.[2]


The history of the press began in 1863, before Israeli independence and during the Ottoman Empire, with Ha-Levanon and Havatzelet being the first weekly Hebrew newspapers established. In 1952, the International Publishing Company J-M Ltd was established as the state's first book publisher.[3] Censorship was regularly enforced in years after independence, throughout the Yom Kippur War and the 1970s.[3] In 1986, the government allowed for the establishment of private and commercial media outlets to run in competition with state media.[3]

Freedom of the press[edit]

Entrance of Beit Sokolov, house of the Israeli Journalists Association.

The Israeli government generally respects freedom of the press, which is protected by the Basic Laws of Israel and independent judiciary.[4] Hate speech, and publishing praise of violence or issues of national security is prohibited.[4] While Israeli journalists operate with little restriction, the government has placed more restrictions on Palestinian journalists working in the region, as Reporters Without Borders alleges that the authorities entered Palestinian offices and homes looking for "illegal material".[full citation needed][5] Some have argued that freedom of press is restricted for Palestinians.[6] The media does carry criticism of government policy.[4]

Publication of a newspaper in Israel is illegal without a permit from the government, which continues to implement the Press Ordinance enacted by the Mandatory Government in 1933.[7] Permits can be refused for a variety of reasons, including that the proprietor is less than 25 years old or has a criminal record or insufficient education.[7][8] An investigation by Haaretz early in 2016 revealed that in the preceding decade at least 62 out of more than 500 permit applications had been rejected.[7] Other regulations, including the 1945 Defence (Emergency) Regulations, can also be used to regulate newspaper publication.[7]

According to information provided by the military censor in response to a Freedom of Information request, in 2017 the censor banned the publication of 271 articles outright, and fully or partially redacted 21% of the articles submitted to it.[9]

Following the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis Israel took steps to ban Qatar-based Al Jazeera by closing its Jerusalem office, revoking press cards, and asking cable and satellite broadcasters not to broadcast al-Jazeera. Defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, had described some of al-Jazeera reports as "Nazi Germany-style" propaganda. It was not clear if the measures covered Al Jazeera English, considered less strident.[10]

Under Israeli law, it is forbidden to proselytize to a person under 18 without the consent of a parent. It is also forbidden to offer material benefits in the process of proselytizing.[11][12]

Freedom House[edit]

Freedom House publishes an annual Freedom of the Press report. The 2013 report described Israel as having "the freest press in the region" but downgraded its status from "Free" to "Partly Free" in response to "the indictment of journalist Uri Blau for possession of state secrets, the first time this law had been used against the press in several decades, as well as instances of politicized interference with the content of the Israel Broadcasting Authority radio programs and concerns surrounding the license renewal of television's Channel 10."[13] The 2023 Freedom in the World report gave Israel a 3 out of 4 report for Freedom of Expression.[14] The report stated that though the media is generally free to criticize the government, print articles remain subject to censorship by the military, and that right-ward leaning trends under the Netanyahu administration further threatened public faith in the press.[14]

Reporters Without Borders[edit]

In 2023 Reporters Without Borders ranked Israel 97th out of 180 in their Press Freedom Index.[15] Palestine was rated 156th out of 180 in 2023. The results for Israel and the Palestinian National Authority from 2002 to the present are shown below, with lower numbers indicating better treatment of reporters:

Year Israel (Israeli territory) Israel (extraterritorial) Palestine No. of national entities rated Report URL
2002 92 Not Specified 82 139 [16]
2003 44 146 130 166 [17]
2004 36 115 127 167 [18]
2005 47 Not Specified 132 167 [19]
2006 50 135 134 168 [20]
2007 44 103 158 169 [21]
2008 46 149 163 173 [22]
2009 93 150 161 175 [23]
2014 96 Not Specified 138 180 [24]
2018 87 134 180 [25]
2019 88 137 180 [26]
2020 88 137 180 [27]
2021 86 132 180 [28]
2022 86 170 180 [29]
2023 97 156 180 [30]

Committee to Protect Journalists[edit]

Since the beginning of the war in Gaza, Israel has detained Palestinian reporters without trial and least 83 media reporters were killed in Gaza. According to a report issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in January 2023, Israel became one of the “worst jailers of journalists,” putting it on par with Iran.[31]

List of media outlets[edit]


Israel Hayom readers in Jerusalem
Yedioth Ahronoth stand

Israel has a large number of dailies, weeklies and periodicals, all privately owned.[32]

  • B'Sheva: Hebrew-language weekly religious newspaper.
  • Calcalist: Hebrew-language daily business newspaper.
  • Globes: Hebrew-language daily business newspaper (with online English edition).
  • Haaretz: Israel's oldest daily newspaper with Hebrew and English editions.
  • Hamodia: daily Haredi newspaper with Hebrew, English and French editions.
  • Israel Hayom: Hebrew-language free daily newspaper (with online English edition).
  • Israel Post: Hebrew-language free daily newspaper.
  • Al-Ittihad: Arabic-language daily communist newspaper.
  • The Jerusalem Post: Israel's oldest English-language newspaper.
  • Kul al-Arab: Arabic-language weekly newspaper.
  • Maariv: Hebrew-language daily newspaper.
  • Makor Rishon: Hebrew-language weekly newspaper.
  • TheMarker: Hebrew-language business media.
  • Vesti: Russian-language daily newspaper.
  • Yated Ne'eman: daily Haredi newspaper with Hebrew and English editions.
  • Yedioth Ahronoth: Hebrew-language daily newspaper.


Galei Tzahal broadcasting van
Kan 11 reporting
  • Channel 9: Russian-language television channel.
  • Keshet 12 Hebrew-language television channel.
  • Reshet 13: Hebrew-language television channel.
  • Channel 20: Hebrew-language television channel aimed at Jewish audience.
  • Galei Tzahal: Hebrew-language general interest radio station.
  • Galgalatz: Hebrew-language radio station broadcasting music, traffic reports and news.
  • i24news: international news television channel in English, French and Arabic.
  • Israeli Broadcasting Corporation: public broadcaster.
  • Knesset Channel: Hebrew-language political television channel.
  • Kol Chai: Hebrew-language radio station aimed at Orthodox audience.


The Times of Israel offices in Jerusalem
  • +972: A blog-based web magazine in English, with a Hebrew companion Mekomit [he] providing on-the-ground reporting and analysis of events in Israel and Palestine.
  • Arutz Sheva: radio station and website in Hebrew, English and Russian.
  • Bamahane: online magazine in Hebrew published by the Israel Defense Forces (shut down).
  • Debkafile: intelligence website in Hebrew and English.
  • Kikar HaShabbat: Hebrew-language Haredi website.
  • Mida: online magazine in Hebrew and English.
  • mako: online news and entertainment portal.
  • The Times of Israel: news website in English, Arabic, French, Persian and Hebrew.
  • Bokra, Israeli-Arab media website
  • Davar, Histadrut-affiliated news website.
  • TLV1: English-language internet radio station.
  • Walla!: Hebrew-language web portal.
  • Ynet: Hebrew-language and English-language news website.
  • Russian-language news website.
  • Lametayel: Hebrew-language travel website
  • Israel-Nachrichten: German-language online daily
  • All Israel News: English-language media website.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Recorded Programs". Israel Broadcasting Authority. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b "The Printed Media: Israel's Newspapers". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Israel". Press reference. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Israel Press Freedom, Freedom House. Archived 23 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Israel 2007 report, Reporters Without Borders. Archived 26 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Ratem, Noam (22 April 2016). "Israel's covert war against Palestinian media". +972 Magazine. Retrieved 1 January 2024.
  7. ^ a b c d "Interior Ministry Has a Stranglehold on the Publication of Newspapers in Israel". Haaretz. 15 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Press Ordinance". The Palestine Gazette. 340: 56–75. 19 January 1933.
  9. ^ Alyssa Fisher (4 July 2018). "Israel Censored a News Story every 4 Hours Last Year". The Forward.
  10. ^ Chulov, Martin (6 August 2017). "Israeli government moves to impose ban on al-Jazeera news network". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  11. ^ Maltz, Judy (5 May 2020). "Israeli Minister Threatens to Shut Down God TV Channel Preaching 'Gospel of Jesus'". Haaretz. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  12. ^ Holmes, Oliver (10 May 2020). "Israel threatens to pull evangelical Christian TV station aimed at Jews". The Guardian. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Israel – Freedom of the Press 2013". Freedom House. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Israel: Freedom in the World 2023 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 31 December 2023.
  15. ^ "2020 World Press Freedom Index | RSF".
  16. ^ 2002 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders Archived 19 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ 2003 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders Archived 19 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ 2004 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders Archived 20 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ 2005 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders Archived 29 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ 2006 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders Archived 4 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ 2007 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders Archived 21 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders Archived 6 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ 2009 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders. Archived 6 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ 2014 Press Freedom Index Archived 4 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Reporters Without Borders.
  25. ^ "2018 World Press Freedom Index | Reporters Without Borders". RSF. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Index | RSF". Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  27. ^ "Index | RSF". Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  28. ^ "Index | RSF". Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  29. ^ "Index | RSF". Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  30. ^ "Index | RSF". Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  31. ^ Chris McGreal: Israel added to list of ‘worst jailers of journalists’ for first time The Guardian, 18 January 2023; Liam Scott: Israel Ranks Among World’s Worst Jailers of Journalists, Report Finds Voice of America, 18 January 2023; Israeli arrests of Palestinian journalists soared in 2023: CPJ AlJazeera, 18 January 2024; Israel tied with Iran for country with 6th-most reporters jailed since December — watchdog The Times of Israel, 18 January 2024; Arlene Getz: 2023 prison census: Jailed journalist numbers near record high; Israel imprisonments spike CPJ, January 2024; Journalist casualties in the Israel-Gaza war CPJ, 18 January 2024; Mohamed Mandour: Attacks, arrests, threats, censorship: The high risks of reporting the Israel-Gaza war CPJ, 18 January 2024;
  32. ^ Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig; Amit Schejter (1994). "Israel". In Yahya Kamalipour; Hamid Mowlana (eds.). Mass Media in the Middle East (PDF). Greenwood. pp. 111–114. ISBN 978-0-313-28535-6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.

External links[edit]