Photo: Gil Nehushtan
Propper. Anti-Semitic slur?
Photo: Gil Nehushtan
Eichler. 'Propper making a living off the haredi public'
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky

Osem chairman's interview irks haredim

Ultra-Orthodox sector accuses Dan Propper of anti-Semitism after he says social protest directed at those 'who don't work and don't serve in the army'

A recent interview given by Nestle-Osem Chairman Dan Propper has sparked a row in the haredi street due to the food company director's implied criticism against the ultra-Orthodox society.


In the interview, Propper told Forbes Israel magazine that "those young people (the social protest activists) are also protesting the fact that, as opposed to other sectors, they must carry the burden of work, reserve service and taxes."


He added that "they don't belong to the sector in which some people don't work, most don't serve in the army and some are entitled to subsidized housing from the government. This polarization is intolerable and may lead to a social outbreak."


The uproar was quick to follow. "A deterrence system must be created against anti-Semitic slurs, not just among people making a living off the haredi public," said Knesset Member Rabbi Israel Eichler (United Torah Judaism). "In the United States, a person selling goods to black people or Jews wouldn't dare say a word against the sectors supporting him."


The Behadrei Hadarim website reported Wednesday that calls had been made on Facebook and elsewhere for a consumer boycott against Osem, as a large portion of the company's sales is in the haredi sector.


Eichler added that "before we declare a consumer boycott against Osem, we must turn to Dan Propper and give him the opportunity to apologize to the hundreds of thousands haredi shoppers in Israel and abroad."


'Osem respects all sectors in Israel'

According to estimates, however, a real consumer boycott against Osem will not be implemented.


"It's unpractical," explains haredi advertiser Yaakov Adamker. "There have been quite a few attacks on the haredi public in recent days, and a boycott requires rabbinical consent and a serious organizations which appears pretty far at the moment.


"Starting a boycott against such a company because of one statement and not buying its products anymore is unthinkable. Almost all haredim buy Osem products and cannot do without them. The company invests in the haredi customer and maintains a high level of kashrut as well. They have never been boycotted for a reason."


Senior Osem officials approached MK Eichler on Wednesday in a bid to restore peace and quiet and minimize the damage caused by the interview. Dan Propper is out of the country and was unavailable for comment.


Osem issued the following statement in response: "The Osem company respects all audiences and sectors in Israel. Osem does not take part in political discussions, and offers its regret in case of any feelings of offense as a result of an interpretation of a sentence said in Mr. Propper's interview to a business magazine."


Shoshana Chen contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 08.11.11, 15:17
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