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Israel Society and Culture: Ha-Zofeh

HA-ẒOFEH (Heb. הַצּוֹפֶה).

(1) Daily Hebrew newspaper, published in Warsaw from 1903 to 1905. Following the journalistic tradition of *Ha-Yom , Ha-Ẓofeh was well-balanced in its presentation of items of both Jewish and general interest, and upheld a Zionist point of view. Published daily, without interruption, the paper was managed by Y.A. Eliashov who also provided substantial financial support. Its first editor, A. *Ludvipol , was succeeded by H.D. *Nomberg . Ludvipol's regular staff included Simon *Bernfeld , Reuben *Brainin , A.L. Levinsky, I.L. *Peretz , and J. *Klausner , each of whom contributed material in his own field, e.g., stories, critical essays on Hebrew, Jewish and general literature, articles of political content, and feuilletons. Among the many other contributors to Ha-Ẓofeh were Hillel *Zeitlin , Mendele Mokher *Seforim, S. *Asch , Ḥ.N. *Bialik , S. *Ben-Zion , Y.D. *Berkowitz , I. *Bershadski , Y. *Gruenbaum , S. *Tchernichowsky , Ya'akov *Cahan , S.A. *Horodezky , V.Z. *Jabotinsky (he began his Hebrew writing here), M.L. *Lilienblum , J. *Fichmann , Itzhak *Katzenelson , Yaakov *Rabinowitz , Judah *Steinberg , Jacob *Steinberg , and Moshe *Smilansky .

Ha-Ẓofeh was bitterly opposed to the *Uganda Scheme . During the Sixth *Zionist Congress (1903), it reached the peak of its circulation (almost 15,000 subscribers), because of its reporting of Herzl's opening remarks on Uganda in a telegram (something hitherto unheard of in the Hebrew press), and also because of its representation at the Congress by Brainin, Bernfeld, Ludvipol, and Ḥermoni. A free copy of all of Bialik's poems was presented to its subscribers while subscribers to *Ha-Shilo'aḥ were granted a substantial discount. The newspaper was discontinued in 1905, during the first Russian revolution, mainly because members of the *Bund struck against the publishing house in which the paper was published.

Ha-Ẓofeh conducted the first short-story contest in Hebrew literature. Y.D. Berkowitz won first prize, and his story was published, together with other worthy entries and the opinions of the judges, in Koveẓ Sippurim (1904).

[Getzel Kressel]

(2) Daily paper published in Tel Aviv. Established in August 1937 as the organ of the World Mizrachi Movement, it initially published three times a week and was edited by *Rabbi Benjamin (Yehoshua Redler-Feldman), and from December it was published daily and edited by Mordekhai *Lipson . The paper's editor-in-chief was Rabbi Meir *Bar-Ilan . Lipson was succeeded by Yeshayahu Bernstein.

Under Shabbetai Don-Yaḥia's (S. Daniel)'s editorship (1951–80) the newspaper generated support and understanding for the modern Orthodox outlook that the establishment of the State of Israel was the beginning of the messianic redemption, and that modern Orthodoxy should become an integral part both of the state's institutions such as the armed forces, and of the general population.

During the 1948–67 period key subjects the newspaper's op-ed and editorial columns dealt with at length were the relationship between religion and state, with particular attention to the budgetary needs of the state religious education sector, and to strengthening the chief rabbinate institution – which was in effect a creation of the modern Orthodox sector. In 1961 Ben-Gurion criticized the paper, after the paper criticized him for a speech attacking the modern Orthodox community.

The newspaper gave expression to different shades of party opinion between Po'alei Mizrachi and Mizrachi. When Daniel was elected to the Knesset on the National Religious Party list, he resigned after only a month, preferring his work as Ha-Ẓofeh's editor. The newspaper led a hand-to-mouth existence, and several times faced closure. Its lack of resources limited news coverage. Though many rabbis and religious educators were among its readers it failed to widen its readership to the larger modern Orthodox public. The newspaper had a highly regarded weekly literary supplement mostly including Torani literature and edited by Yehoshua Shemesh, who became the paper's deputy editor.

The change in agenda of the NRP's Young Guard after the 1967 war found expression editorially inside Ha-Ẓofeh, which embraced the right of Jewish settlement in a Greater Land of Israel. Moshe Ishon, who was editor from 1980 to 1997, produced skilled polemics on the subject. After the 1993 Oslo accords, the newspaper found itself in direct conflict with the Likud government. Statements of leading Zionist rabbis castigating withdrawal from biblical territory were given prominence – raising afresh the question of the relationship between modern Orthodoxy and contemporary state institutions like the army. With the modern Orthodox dividing into three strata: the moderate veterans, the ḥaredi le'ummi, and the right the newspaper found itself having to appeal to all.

When Ishon retired in 1997 at the request of the paper's directors, facing ever-dwindling circulation as readers transferred their loyalties to the general press with its superior news coverage, the newspaper changed direction with the appointment of Gonen Ginat, a journalist who turned the paper into a bold tabloid with racy headlines. In revamping the news coverage, he recruited younger journalists. Chayuta Deutsch was appointed literary editor, widening the scope from Torah literature to the broad range of Israeli literature. Haggai Huberman was the settlements correspondent. The paper investigated the relationship between Shin Bet agent Avishai Raviv and Yigal Amir, Rabin's assassin. It also played an important part in generating opposition among the modern Orthodox camp to the Sharon government's withdrawal from *Gush Katif in 2005. At times the paper became so scurrilous – such as accusing haredi girls' seminary students of engaging in prostitution – that Ginat on several occasions was forced to apologize in the paper's pages.

Circulation in 2005 was 12,000 daily and 18,000 on Sabbath and holiday eves. In 2005 the National Religious Party sold the paper to Shlomo Ben Zvi, a religious newspaper tycoon, owner of Mekor Rishon, a nationalist quality weekly, Nekuda, a religious nationalist-oriented intellectual review, and founder of Techelet, an experimental Jewish tradition television channel. The newspaper maintains a website.

[Yoel Cohen (2nd ed.)]

Sources:(1) E.E. Friedman, Sefer ha-Zikhronot (1926), 275–314; J. Klausner, in: Ha-Boker (Jan. 2, 1953); Y. Rabinowitz, in: Davar (Jun. 1, 1945). (2) Ha-Ẓofeh (Jan. 20, 1939); (Jan. 6, 1948); (June 6, 1954); (Sept. 18, 1963); S. Daniel, in: Sefer ha-Shanah shel ha-Ittona'im (1963), 36–39; G. Kressel, Toledot ha-Ittonut ha-Ivrit be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1964), 166–72.  O. Tzarfati, "Mi Mashpi'a al Emdot ha-Ẓiyyonut ha-Datit?" in: Kivvunim, 12 (2005).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.