The Israel National Lottery Under Fire for Alleged Retaliatory Action

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The Israel National Lottery, also known as the Mifal HaPayis, is the target of public ire in the country. When a local media outlet refused to back off a story on a former Mossad boss, the Lottery’s CEO allegedly threw a temper tantrum. That led to the organization pulling advertising from the channel, which has rubbed more than a few people the wrong way.

Lottery Boss Allegedly Throws Fit

According to media outlet Haaretz, the head of Israel’s lottery, Avigdor Itzhaki, reached out to executives at the popular Channel 13 TV station last December. He wanted them to back off a report alleging Yossi Cohen, a former head of Israel’s Mossad, had revealed state secrets to a woman while he was serving as the spy agency’s chief.

However, the station refused to cave in. As a result, Itzhaki allegedly took out his frustration by cutting advertising dollars to the station because it broadcasted the report.

Itzhaki denies the report. He said he asked for the Cohen segment to be canceled because he felt it was unworthy. The cancellation of the advertising agreement came as part of a separate issue between the two, stemming from an ongoing dispute that was alive well before the December request.

Channel 13’s investigative program “HaMakor,” reported that Cohen began an affair with the married woman in late 2018, according to Haaretz. Cohen bragged to her and her husband about secret details about the spy agency’s operations all around the globe. He allegedly also provided them information on his travels.

Itzhaki called Channel 13 station chief Avi Ben-Tal and investigative reporter Raviv Drucker before the broadcast to ask them not to proceed with the report. However, the broadcast was still aired.

Airing Grievances

A meeting between the Lottery and Channel 13 representatives was canceled in the wake of the broadcast. According to the report, advertising by the Mifal HaPayis on the station subsequently fell considerably compared to last year.

According to the company, in 2021, Mifal HaPayis spent 26.4% on Channel 13 and 53.4% on Channel 12. 90% of advertising dollars have gone to Channel 12 since the beginning of the year and only 2% to Channel 13 since then. According to sources familiar with the situation, the change has already resulted in Channel 13 losing millions in revenue.

Mifal HaPayis stated in a statement to Haaretz, “There is no connection between the conversation described in the [report] and the negotiations led by professional entities in Mifal HaPayis with the station, during which gaps emerged between the sides.”

It added that negotiations are still underway, irrespective of the channel’s decision to air the story.

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