Edelstein, reporter in dustup over slur

Amiram Cohen of 'The Marker,' apologizes for Russian comments, but slams minister's statements against the High Court.

April 3, 2012 15:35
1 minute read.
Yuli Edelstein

yuli edelstein 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Journalist Amiram Cohen apologized to Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein on Tuesday, after an email he wrote saying Edelstein should “go back to Russia where he belongs” became public.

Edelstein spent three-and-a-half years in a Soviet labor camp as a ‘Prisoner of Zion’ before being allowed to immigrate to Israel in 1987.

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Last week, Edelstein’s spokesman Eran Sidis sent out a press release, in which the minister criticized the High Court’s decision not to delay the dismantling of the Migron outpost, calling it an “unparalleled scandal.”

Cohen, who writes for the Haaretz-owned business newspaper The Marker, responded to Sidis, saying that Edelstein’s reaction was an “unparalleled scandal,” the High Court’s decision proves that there is justice in Israel and Migron is on land that belongs to the Palestinian people.

Soon after, Sidis emailed Cohen: “You got really annoyed, huh?” Cohen responded “it is not worth it to continue talking about a small, marginal politician.

He should go back to Russia, where he belongs.”

Sidis wrote a letter of complaint to The Marker editor Sammy Peretz in which he called Cohen’s email an insult to not just Edelstein, but everyone who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union.

“Do you, as editor, agree with Mr. Cohen’s opinion that a Prisoner of Zion, who spent years in Soviet prison doing hard labor until he was on the verge of death because he wanted to immigrate to Israel, should ‘go back to Russia’ because he supports settlers in Judea and Samaria and opposes a High Court decision?” Sidis asked.

Cohen told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that that he apologized to Edelstein through Sidis, and takes back his call for the minister to return to Russia.

The reporter said his words were inappropriate, and written in the heat of an argument.

In addition, Cohen explained that he respects all immigrants to Israel from anywhere in the world, and that he believes that the immigration from Russia and the FSU contributed greatly to Israel, in all areas of life.

However, the journalist lamented that a government minister should use the expression “unparalleled scandal” to describe a High Court decision, saying that such an expression is an example of “dangerous incitement against judges in Israel, and is worthy of condemnation.”

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