(photo credit: screenshot)
Shas leader Arye Deri promised Tuesday to continue his struggle to cancel the appointment of Rami Sadan as chairman of Channel 10.
Sadan, who is known to have warm ties with Netanyahu, is a public relations figure and Knesset lobbyist who has come under fire for allegedly uttering racist comments about Mizrahi Jews at a Channel 10 board meeting. He has denied making the remarks, but at least two of his colleagues in the Channel 10 leadership say he made them.
Speaking at the opening session of the Herzliya Conference at the President’s Residence, Deri said he had received more and more testimony that the statements were indeed made. He said Shas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his role as communications minister cannot ignore the such remarks and pretend they were not voiced.
“The tongue can make the difference between life and death,” Deri said. “Racist discourse that does not receive an immediate response gives legitimacy to horrible discrimination in the future. That is why I renew my call for Netanyahu and the Second Channel Authority to bring about Sadan’s immediate firing. We will use all tools available, so it will be known that from now on, a price is paid for racism.”
Responding to a call from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to just have Sadan apologize, Deri said that if Shas will be silent and let Sadan keep his job, racist statements will lead to discriminatory actions by Sadan in his new post.
Deri met with Netanyahu on Monday and on Friday to discuss the issue. The Supreme Court has given the state until Thursday to explain why Sadan has not been suspended.
Sadan sent Shas MKs a letter denying that he made the statements. As proof of his innocence, he wrote them that he is dating a woman who is of Moroccan origin.
“My blood is being spilled for no reason,” Sadan wrote the MKs.
He said he was being accused for political reasons due to his alleged closeness to Netanyahu.
Speaking to Israel Hayom, Sadan asked: “Eight people who were in the room say I did not say it and one person says I did, so why should the one be believed and not the eight?” Attorney Ilan Bombach filed a lawsuit in Sadan’s name against the reporter from Haaretz who broke the story.
The Knesset Economics Committee is set to deal with the issue on Thursday.
A hearing on the matter was originally set for Monday but was canceled after Channel 10 did not send anyone and Sadan told committee chairman Eitan Cabel he was not feeling well.