'French Kiss' (Between Dinosaurs) Costs Israeli Editor Her Job

Publisher of religious Makor Rishon fired the editor of its children’s supplement for running a comic strip in which the risque phrase appears.

Nati Tucker
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

The editor of a children’s magazine which caters to the national religious public was sacked for inadvertantly including a comic strip in which a dinosaur uses the phrase “French kiss.”

Liat Rotner, the editor of Otiyot, a children’s supplement included in the right-wing religious Makor Rishon newspaper, claims she was sacked for the error which ran in the latest issue. During a hearing with her employer she says she was told that “The mistake damaged our image, and this is the only way to assuage the angry voices from the religious-Haredi public. They won’t come back unless we fire the editor.”

In a post this week on her Facebook page, Rotner said that she has written and edited the supplement by herself for three years. In the most recent issue of Otiyot she included a chapter from the comic strip “Izzy,” by Dovi Keich, in which dinosaurs are playing Truth or Consequences. In one picture the hero says: “You have to give Shoshi a French kiss.”

“When I discovered the mistake and received angry letters,” wrote Rotner on Facebook, “I sat down and contacted the families who complained, one by one, and spoke to them in order to apologize.” Despite that, it was decided to conduct a hearing for Rotner and to dismiss her from her job at the paper.

The same comic strip also ran in the youth magazine Maariv Lanoar which, like Otiyot, is owned by Shlomo Ben-Zvi and his family through the Tchelet Group.
Otiyot was established in 1987. Its first editor was Uri Orbach, a journalist at the time and today the minister for pensioners’ affairs and an MK representing Habayit Hayehudi. In 2011 the magazine was acquired by Makor Rishon, a newspaper owned by Ben-Zvi, and Otiyot became the children’s supplement of the paper.

The Tchelet Group said in response: We are sorry that Liat Rotner chose to present the things in a manner that does not conform to the facts. In order not to harm Liat’s privacy we do not wish to explain all the circumstances that led to the termination of her employment. We wish her success in the future.”

Caption reads: "I dare you to french Kiss Shoshi."
If only the dinosaur had kept his mouth shut. Credit: Bloomberg