Police weigh charges against former professor's racist statements against Sephardi Jews

Controversial professor makes incendiary comments on Facebook blaming Zionist Union's election loss on Jews from the Muslim world.

March 23, 2015 16:16
1 minute read.
Amir Hetsroni

Amir Hetsroni. (photo credit: AMIR HETSRONI FACEBOOK PAGE)

The Israel Police is examining whether to recommend criminal charges against a notorious former university professor who sparked controversy last week for disparaging comments made against Jews of Middle East and Asian origin.

The police intelligence and investigations branch said in a statement Monday that the inspector-general would “examine statements made in recent days in order to see if they constitute a crime.” They noted that the decision to open a criminal case would be made by the prosecutor’s office.

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Controversy over Prof. Amir Hetsroni’s comments has dominated Facebook and other online forums in Israel in recent days, after he made online statements after the election blaming the loss of the Zionist Union on Jews from the Muslim world and Asia. He also argued that if he could go back in time he would impose more stringent limits on immigration to Israel from such countries to prevent future Likud supporters from coming to Israel, adding that voting for the Right “is a sign of mental retardation.”

The controversy reached a new height on Sunday, however, after Hetsroni, who was dismissed by Ariel University in August 2014 for “inappropriate comment” because of statements he made on Facebook and elsewhere, was kicked off a morning TV show panel for making offensive comments about Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews. During the confrontation, a woman on the panel called Hetsroni a fascist, after which he replied: “All I said was that nothing bad would have happened if your parents had decided to stay in Morocco and rot there.”

One of the show’s hosts, Yoav Limor, asked Hetsroni to apologize or leave, at which point he stood up and walked out.

As the controversy raged on Sunday, Hetsroni vowed to leave Israel in the coming year.

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