JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Sephardic Orthodox Shas party said it will refuse to participate in any Knesset meetings or votes over reported derogatory statements made by the new chair of Israel’s Channel 10, then followed through on the threat.
On Wednesday, Shas refused to vote on an opposition bill to raise state pensions; the measure failed to pass by one vote.
The party was objecting to the naming of Rami Sadan, who reportedly is close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the television post on Monday. Sadan is reported to have made racist comments against Shas several days ago during a Channel 10 directors meeting.
“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’ audience, to Massuda from Sderot,” Haaretz on Tuesday quoted Sadan as saying.
Deri, the chairman of Shas and currently Israel’s interior minister, served two years in prison for fraud and bribery in the early 2000s and is being investigated again for wrongdoing. “Massouda from Sderot” is a derogatory way to describe a woman of Mizrahi descent living on Israel’s periphery.
Sadan has denied making the comments, though Channel 10 News CEO Golan Yochpaz reportedly confirmed the remarks.