Israeli media personality: Ultra-Orthodox Jews are a ‘cancer’

“The place needs to be cleaned from the inside…13% of the public is a cancer in the public sphere,” Radio journalist Ron Koffman said.

In an attack on ultra-Orthodox MK Yisrael Eichler, radio presenter Ron Koffman stated on Israel’s 103FM that “the place needs to be cleaned from the inside, from the Eichlers; 13% of the public is a cancer within society,” Hebrew-language media reported.

The attack against Eichler on Tuesday morning was in response to derogatory statements the lawmaker made earlier this month about Zionism in response to a warning by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the annual Rosh Hashana pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine. Netanyahu had urged the thousands of haredi travelers to reconsider their plans by reminding them that Jews were not always protected there.

“Israeli citizens traveling to Ukraine must be personally responsible. There are no safeguards there,” Netanyahu said, before adding, “From a historical perspective, God hasn’t consistently protected us, especially in Europe and Ukraine.”

Eichler slammed the prime minister’s “words of ignorance,” saying that Divine intervention, not Zionist efforts, prevented further tragedy during the Holocaust and shielded Israel in its formative years.

“Zionists did not prevent the Holocaust in Europe,” and therefore, “they should bear some responsibility for the annihilation,” Eichler said, adding that survivors who remained in the Diaspora lived more peacefully than those who came to Israel.

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‘Horrifying and shocking statements’

“Calling a huge Jewish community a ‘cancer’ is a terrible disgrace that reminds us of what our enemies did in the Diaspora, when they deprived the Jews of a human image and spilled their blood,” Shas MK Aryeh Deri stated. “These are horrifying and shocking statements that must be condemned by all. We must not allow any differences of opinion to degenerate the conversation into such a severe incitement,” he said.

Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknapf, chair of United Torah Judaism, said that especially “in the midst of the 10 days of repentance [from Rosh Hashana through Yom Kippur], days of soul-searching and Jewish unity of Israel, it is shocking to hear such incitement broadcast to the entire Israeli public.

“This unfortunate statement cannot pass in silence. In another country they would shout that this is anti-Semitism. I expect the station’s management to suspend the broadcaster immediately until he apologizes.”

Later, Koffman tried to retract his words: “Obviously, I don’t have a problem with the ultra-Orthodox themselves. With the ultra-Orthodox leadership, OK, I have a huge problem.”