Netanyahu, Deri to meet amid Channel 10 scandal

Prime Minister calls Deri during Russia trip as Shas threatens to continue coalition boycott.

David Rosenberg , | updated: 9:38 PM

Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Looking to defuse the latest coalition crisis threatening his government, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with Shas chief Aryeh Deri by phone Wednesday evening, scheduling a meeting between the two for Thursday.

The Prime Minister, who is currently on a state visit in Moscow, called the Shas leader in response to his party’s threat to renew its boycott of coalition votes. Shas abstained from all Knesset votes and committee hearings on Wednesday – until a vote on a conversion law the party strongly opposes.

Shas officials pledged to renew their boycott on Thursday and strip the coalition of its majority – leaving Netanyahu’s government with just 59 MKs – unless newly-appointed Channel 10 chairman Rami Sadan is removed from his position.

Sadan, it has been alleged, made defamatory statements against Sephardic Jews in general and the Shas party in particular, saying that he “hates” Shas and its chairman, Aryeh Deri. Sadan has denied the claims, though Channel 10 CEO Golan Yochpaz insists they are correct.

Kulanu MK Eli Alaluf joined the Shas-led protest against Sadan on Wednesday, shutting down the Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee, which he chairs.

“I apologize to everyone here who made the effort to come, but I’m closing the meeting immediately. I believe it that cancelling the meeting is a proper way to protest against the racist things we’ve heard in the media, particularly those things attributed to Rami Sadan.

“I was horrified to hear the things attributed to Mr. Sadan. There is no place for a person, especially in his new position, to spread such hateful and divisive talk”.