Yeshua: Walla was highly sensitive to stories deemed unfavorable to PM

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua says the news outlet was always highly sensitive to stories that could be considered unfavorable toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or his wife and would work to remove them from the site quickly.

“Of course, one person’s negative is another person’s positive. But the bar was very low. If it could be seen as negative, it would be taken down,” he says.

Yeshua says “almost every” request, from 2013 to late 2016, from the premier’s office or Yeshua’s employers the Elovitches to remove a negative story or play up a positive one was accepted, saying there were “exceedingly few exceptions.”

Yeshua says he eventually learned to “self-censor” and remove stories that he thought the Elovitches or the prime minister would not like before they asked.

In late 2016, Yeshua says, he stopped doing this.

Prosecutor Yehudit Tirosh asks Yeshua why he agreed to go along with this system.

“I loved the job. And I hoped that I would eventually succeed to manage this, that something would happen and we’d be done with it. Iris and Shaul [Elovitch] would say, ‘It’s only for a short period, it’s only for this sensitive period,’ and I bought that story,” Yeshua says.

“But I don’t have a good answer,” he says.

“The salary was good, I have to say,” Yeshua adds.