Transportation Minister Israel Katz on Tuesday demanded that Ashdod Port union chief Alon Hassan resign after Hassan called one of Katz’s supporters a “fagot” on Facebook.
The saga began when Hassan, who has been the subject of corruption investigations and clashed with Katz over proposed port reforms, posted a photo of the minister on his Facebook wall on Tuesday stamped with the word “expired,” a response to a similar photo Katz posted of Hassan on Monday.
“In the upcoming Likud primary, remember, dear friends, that Israel Katz is expired,” he wrote. “We will see whose expiry comes first, his or mine.”
In the subsequent comments, a man named Johnathan Spiegelman came to Katz’s defense, writing: “The nation stands behind Israel Katz, it’s time to end the criminal rule of the unions that squander the state’s money. Because of people like you the cost of living is among the highest in the world, we are yearning for the day we see you on trail.”
Hassan’s response: “Come here you little fagot, don’t sully my wall.”
Spiegelman responded coolly. ‘You have a problem with gays? At least I’m not shady like you. I’m gay and proud and have a great time with it.”
Hassan responded: “Then I know some people who can do you a favor. Maybe your boss who you’re defending, no?” In his own Facebook post, Katz called on Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini to immediately fire Hassan.
“The cursing, threats and assault on an entire community are Hassan’s. The shame is yours,” he wrote to Eini. “You canceled his suspension and you’re responsible. This is the legacy you leave behind? Get rid of him immediately.”
In September, Eini allowed Hassan to return to his position following a two-month suspension, which came on the heels of allegations that he had used his position at the port to enrich himself, signing contracts with contractors and providers of companies in which he had a stake.
A Histadrut spokesman refused to comment on the situation or condemn the anti-gay comments.
Hassan has since deleted the comment and posted a clarification on his Facebook page, saying he had nothing against the gay community, that he had gay friends and that Spiegelman had “harassed me – him and his partner.”