Tuvia Tsafir to do community service

Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Monday morning approved a plea bargain that was negotiated with television personality Tuvia Tsafir, who confessed to assaulting two employees during the filming of the soap opera Telenovela Incorporated last January. As a result of the agreement, Tsafir was not convicted of the charges, but will perform community service and will financially compensate the stage manager and a crew member whom he assaulted. Tsafir confessed to some of the charges leveled against him and expressed regret over the episode. For several decades, Tsafir has been one the country's best-known entertainers. Recently, he has focused on performing for children, and his theater performance Grandpa Tuvia the King has been extremely successful among young audiences, as is the recorded version of the show. While some of the parents interviewed by The Jerusalem Post on Monday expressed reservations about their children being entertained by Tsafir following his violent behavior on the set of Telenovela Inc., most of them said their love and admiration for the actor outweighed their criticism of his behavior. "I am against any form of aggression, and I don't think he should have done what he did," said the father of one young girl, who preferred not to be identified because of his work in the entertainment business. "Still," he added, "I have known Tuvia for many years and I think he is a great and extremely professional artist. Few people know what's it like to work on a production - there's a lot of tension and aggression in the air, and I myself have seen more than one production assistant get smacked on a set. I will definitely continue to allow my daughter to see his work, and would encourage other parents to do the same." Roni Efrati, a cab driver from Bat Yam, is the father of three young Tsafir fans. "My children love him," he said. "I was angry at him the day I found out about what he did, but I let it go. He is not a violent person, and anybody can have a bad day. He's a nice person, he's great with kids, and I don't see why I wouldn't continue taking my children to see him perform." At the Toys 'R' Us store at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, one saleswoman said she did not believe Tsafir's violent outburst would influence the positive feelings audiences of all ages have toward him. "I don't believe the sales of his cassettes will be influenced either," she said. Another saleswoman, Ziva Shemaryahu, however, spoke of her changed attitude. "I still like him as an artist, but I will no longer buy a cassette of his for my granddaughter to watch," she said. "Violence and a love for kids don't go together." Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.