Yinon Magal and Ron Koffman
Yinon Magal and Ron Koffman103FM

Journalist Ron Koffman called the haredi community "a cancer" Tuesday morning during an interview with 103FM Radio.

"The place needs to be cleaned from the inside, the Eichlers. Thirteen percent of the public are a cancer in the Israeli public," said Koffman.

Koffman's broadcast partner, Yinon Magal, demanded that he retract the statement. Koffman replied: "I quoted Eichler's words. Now, obviously, I don't have a problem with the haredim themselves. With the haredi leadership, okay? I have a huge problem, if an elected official comes and publishes an anti-Semitic piece... What they do, what Eichler does, he should be removed from the Knesset. I said inclusive of haredi, I repeat the inclusion. Eichler and the haredi leadership are causing enormous damage, internationally, to the country."

The Broadcast Authority announced that they would consider measures against the radio station where Koffman broadcasted. "The authority opened an alleged violation procedure against 103FM, following what was said this morning on the air by broadcaster Ron Koffman."

Shas chairman Aryeh Deri wrote that he was shocked by Koffman's words. "Calling a huge Jewish community a 'cancer' is a terrible lowness that reminds of what our enemies did in the Diaspora, when they deprived the Jews of a human image and spilled their blood. These are horrifying and shocking statements that must be denounced completely. We must not allow any differences of opinion to degenerate the discourse into such a severe incitement."

Deputy Minister of Finance MK Michal Woldiger responded "Ron Koffman is known as a man with a big mouth, but his statement today must cost him a fortune. Everyone has a limit. The haredim are not a cancer, they are a beloved and valued community. Maybe you should visit the oncology department before spouting such blasphemy."

The chairman of the Health committee, MK Uriel Buso, added: "We will continue to take care of your grandson who is studying in a Chabad kindergarten, so that he will receive the best possible education."

The haredi media personality Avi Mimran wrote: "We need to 'cleanse' 13% of the public, Ron?. How do you clean thirteen percent of the population? Gas chambers? Extermination? Transfer?".

The Beit Lechem Yehuda charity organization responded: "Ron, you are welcome to join a cancer that distributes food to thousands of hungry families all over the country. A cancer that extends its hand to anyone, regardless of who it is. We don't check if someone is dressed religiously but look into the soul. We will not sit idly by in the face of the shocking smear campaign against our community; we stopped apologizing."

The CEO of the Betsalmo organization, Shai Glick, appealed to the Commissioner of Public Inquiries in the Broadcast Authority, David Regev, and demanded to start a procedure that would lead to Koffman's suspension.

"I don't even have words to express the shock that a broadcaster in the State of Israel, the State of the Jews, dares to call his brother and his people the worst word in the arsenal of words. This man must be suspended immediately, the Authority must start a violation procedure and I hope that while he is suspended he will spend some time in the cancer wards in my home. The patient will see the amount of haredi volunteering and will realize for himself how wrong he was and will apologize and start volunteering in these organizations," Glick wrote.

About a year ago, a similar statement was made on 103FM against the haredi public, resulting in the suspension of the broadcaster Natan Zahavi, who did not return to broadcast on the station.

"All these lowlives are quoting verses from the Bible to me. Pray, put on tefillin, light Shabbat candles, lay out challah, dress modestly, and wear tefillin. I would be happy if some of you would tie the tefillin around your throats and hang yourselves - because they are doing nothing," Zahavi said at the time.