I have a problem with debt. I had a father who believed in people and could not refuse if a friend came to him and
said: ‘Please be my guarantor’, he didn’t like to say ‘no’, he would agree. As a result, all his life he
paid the debts of others. And I swore that I would never
in my life sign on a guarantee, even if the person closest to me
comes, I will not sign on a guarantee. When HaOlam HaZeh began to sink into debt and needed loans from banks, the banks
demanded the signature of the owners, of the editor and the owners said: ‘Do not agree’. And then something rather strange
happened, perhaps it was even unique in Israel the banks trusted me. HaOlam HaZeh sank into serious
debts without my guarantee. But we reached a point where it was
impossible to continue, and there were huge debts. I felt − particularly because I had not signed −
I felt a sense of moral responsibility, and at the end there really was no other choice. It was a problem to declare
bankruptcy and close the newspaper. Bankruptcy meant that all the creditors of
HaOlam HaZeh were left without money, including − and especially − all the employees for whom we had stopped depositing
money into their compensation fund because there was no money – which,
by the way, was a criminal offense. So I either had to close, which I really did not want to do, but, in terms of my personal honor,
that was the right thing to do or I could sell. Who would buy HaOlam HaZeh?
Anyone who came to mind. I went in despair to Yediot Aharonot, Maariv, all sorts of people on the
political left, no one wanted it. Eventually I was told that friends
of Arik Sharon wanted to buy it. Among the most suitable friends was Arie Ganger,
a financier born in Israel who emigrated to New York, was a close associate of Meshulam Riklis
and was a multimillionaire. I had to grapple long and hard
with this disaster of bankruptcy, and with the sale of the paper to Arik’s
friend, which actually meant to Arik. I struggled, I struggled, I struggled and decided in the end to
go with the least honorable but most practical solution −
to sell HaOlam HaZeh to Ganger.