Israeli Film Critic Suspended for Racist Facebook Post

Gidi Orsher earns culture minister's wrath with reviling stereotypical post.

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Army Radio’s film critic Gidi Orsher
Army Radio’s film critic Gidi Orsher Credit: David Bachar

Army Radio’s film critic Gidi Orsher has been suspended pending a hearing for posting comments reviling Mizrahim on his Facebook page on Saturday. Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev called for his outright dismissal.

Among his comments, Orsher said, directing his statements at Israelis of Mizrahi, or Middle Eastern origin: “Next time you have a heart attack, skip catheterization and use your grandmother’s remedy of putting a chicken leg on your head instead.” The next time there is a rocket attack, Mizrahim should “ignore the Iron Dome and recite Psalms or perhaps wait for the matriarch Rachel to protect you.” Mizrahim who have trouble conceiving, he said, should “continue the practice of praying for fertility at the graves of dead rabbis in the Galilee.”

Orsher also wrote: “And next time you want to publish your thoughts, leave the computer with its programs and applications developed by Israeli startups, and go back to writing on parchment, sending messages with bonfires and responding hysterically to the media (that, you do already).”

Army Radio commander Yaron Dekel suspended Orsher pending a hearing that will be held early next week.

Regev said: “Suspension is not enough. I demand that Orsher not set foot in a public station funded by public money. He and those like him must know that racism against Mizrahi communities has a heavy cost. Only then will we put an end to racism that leads to exclusion, discrimination and deprivation.

Regev said she had spoken to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and had asked him “to begin the social justice revolution” at Army Radio that "Bogie was afraid to do,” referring to the former defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, by his nickname.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of Orsher’s post that “a man with such ignorant views has no place in public broadcasting in Israel.”

Among the politicians across the board expressing outrage at Orsher’s post, Lieberman said Orsher’s comments could not be interpreted as anything but “lashing out against an entire community” and that Orsher should be dismissed.

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