(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Wednesday to Shas leader Arye Deri about the coalition crisis involving the appointment of Rami Sadan as the chairman of Channel 10.
Sadan, 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.
Netanyahu and Deri agreed to meet Thursday evening after the prime minister returns from Moscow in an effort to settle the dispute.
According to Channel 10, Netanyahu told Deri that he did not appoint Sadan and cannot fire him.
Sadan told Channel 2 that he believes the dispute could be resolved “over coffee with Deri.”
The Shas Council of Torah Sages met on Wednesday and urged the party’s MKs to continue their battle against Sadan.
The Shas faction decided in a meeting earlier in the day to reject the findings of a committee that investigated Sadan over his disparaging comments. The committee’s findings are have just been sent to the Attorney- General’s Office.
Shas still believes that Sadan made the racist statements and have criticized the Channel 10 board for covering up the remarks, the party said, formally demanding the immediate firing of Sadan.
The party said that it will not participate in any Knesset meetings or votes until Sadan has been removed. Shortly after issuing this promise, however, the party’s lawmakers did take part in a vote on Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern’s conversion bill. The party explained that this particular vote was especially important to them, but that the moratorium on voting would be in effect for all other votes.
Sadan’s comments were allegedly made during a Channel 10 directors meeting held several days ago.
“Let’s admit the truth, I, like you, am in the elite, hate the Shas movement and the thief – Arye Deri. But we, as the elite, need to expand the channel’s circles, and appeal to Shas’s audience, to Massuda from Sderot,” Haaretz quoted Sadan as saying.
The phrase “Massuda from Sderot” is a derogatory expression for a Mizrahi woman from a peripheral town, such as Sderot. The phrase is akin to meaning the weakest link in Israeli society.
Four Shas deputy mayors petitioned the High Court of Justice Wednesday to freeze Sadan’s appointment immediately.
The deputy mayors – Ariel Busso of Petah Tikva, Nahori Lahiani of Safed, Tzvika Cohen of Jerusalem and Tzuriel Victor Krisfal of Elad – said in the petition that “it is inconceivable that someone whose appointment falls under the Broadcast Authority Law and whose position is so clearly public, important and far-reaching, who is directly responsible for dictating the public agenda in Israel, will display already in the candidacy stage, dark opinions which alienate from the public discourse an entire community, in a tone of dismissal that has not been heard in great while.”Jeremy Sharon and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.