The CEO of Channel 10 television yesterday urged the station’s brand-new chairman of the board to step down, saying that Rami Sadan’s “racist” remarks made him unfit for the job.
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“I was at the Channel 10 News board meeting where Mr. Sadan spoke,” CEO Yossi Warshavsky said yesterday at an employee gathering in honor of the Shavuot holiday. “He made racist remarks about Shas that have no place among us.”
Warshavsky said that Golan Yochpaz, the director of Channel 10 News, had quoted Sadan’s remarks accurately, “and I affirmed this officially to the Second Television and Radio Authority. Even if you look at the context of what was said by the other people present at the meeting ... you get a very racist picture.”
The remarks, as reported by Haaretz this week, were made at the board meeting where Sadan presented his candidacy for chairman.
“Let’s admit the truth, I, like you in the elite, detest Shas and that thief Arye Dery,” Sadan said, referring to the interior minister and Shas party chairman. “But we, as an elite, need to reach beyond the channel’s usual circles, to appeal to the Shas audience, to Masuda from Sderot.”
Masuda from Sderot is an apparent reference to a typical Shas voter from the town on the Gaza border, while the epithet “thief” was apparently in reference to Dery’s conviction for graft in the early 1990s. The racist element of the statement stems from the fact that most Shas voters are Mizrahim, or Jews of Middle Eastern and North African origin, whereas the “elite” to which Sadan referred is primarily Ashkenazi, or of European origin.
Also yesterday, four deputy mayors from the Shas party petitioned the High Court of Justice to demand that Sadan’s appointment be frozen in light of his remarks about Shas voters. Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran ordered Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and the Second Television and Radio Authority to reply to the petition within a week.
The petition said Sadan’s own account of what he said differed from that of Yochpaz and other Channel 10 employees, and argued that Sadan’s appointment should be frozen until the facts about what he actually said are clarified. It also asked the court to order publication of both the meeting’s minutes and a recording of the session as a way of clarifying the facts.
Yesterday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was slated to meet with Dery to try to resolve the coalition crisis triggered by Sadan’s appointment, which Netanyahu had approved in his role as communications minister.