Paper sold to hardliner

TEL AVIV. The owner of Israel's third-largest daily has agreed to sell the money-bleeding newspaper to the publisher of a hardline religious publication.

TEL AVIV. The owner of Israel's third-largest daily has agreed to sell the money-bleeding newspaper to the publisher of a hardline religious publication.

It is not clear whether Maariv's new publisher, Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, will bring the newspaper in line with his hawkish Makor Rishon daily.

Maariv, owned by cash-strapped Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner, said only 300 to 400 of the paper's 2000 employees will be kept on after the $US21 million ($A20.2 million) deal is complete.

Maariv, published since 1948, is third in readership behind Yediot Ahronot and Israel Hayom, a free daily supportive of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, funded by Jewish-American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

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