Shlomo Maoz. 'Israel's lands robbed by kibbutzim
Photo: Amit Shaal

Chief economist fired over 'racist slur'

Excellence investment house decides to dismiss Shlomo Maoz 'in light of crude, unfortunate remarks' against Ashkenazi elite. Maoz told a Sapir College panel Wednesday, 'Leumi is a white man's bank'

The Excellence Nessuah investment house has decided to dismiss chief economist Shlomo Maoz in the wake of the turmoil raised Wednesday following his remarks against Israel's "Ashkenazi elite" at a panel held at the Sapir College.


The company released a statement saying, "In light of Shlomo Maoz' crude and unfortunate remarks he will be relieved of all of his duties in the investment house."


The statement further added, "Excellence wishes to apologize and repudiates such remarks."


The investment house had denounced its chief economist's remarks on Wednesday even before issuing the statement, saying that "Excellence intends to take harsh measures in this matter."


'Real protestors are of Sephardic origin'

During the conference, Maoz and social protest leader Daphni Leef had a heated confrontation after Maoz said that "the real demonstrators are the residents of the periphery, of Sephardic origin not the elitist Ashkenazi residents of central Israel.


"Who demonstrated on Rothschild Boulevard? It was the state university students that pay NIS 12,000 ($3,100) a year. Is it fair that college students have to pay NIS 40,000 ($10,400) a year? College students couldn't join the protests – they had no time, they had to go to work. That's not social justice."


During the panel Maoz continued to attack the Ashkenazi elite: "In the 1950s, the Israeli society was egalitarian with lot of immigration. Was it indeed? Maybe in the eyes of the Ashkenazi elite. And the insolence prevails – with nepotism at the Supermen Court, for example.


"There was a time when to get ahead in universities, one had to be close to the reigning group. One needed to resort to favoritism to get ahead. Going abroad as an emissary? Only if you were part of the Austro-Hungarian clique."


Maoz went on to say, "Israel's lands were robbed by the kibbutzim and moshavim. Today, the young generations still received land. They get water for low rates."


Maoz did not spare Bank Leumi as well. "That same white group is in control – Bank Leumi is a white man's bank. Only white people can get a job there. I went to their committee uninvited and sent a letter through a lawyer. They found me qualified but slammed the door.


"The entire committee was Ashkenazi! I petitioned the Supreme Court – they all were Ashkenazi as well. I spent NIS 27,000 ($7,000) on this. Luckily, I have means thanks to my job on the financial market."


'No right to mix personal opinions in job'

The Sapir College said in response to Maoz's dismissal: "We view the measures taken against Mr. Maoz a profound violation of pluralism such that no democratic society can abide.


"Sapir harshly condemns the dismissal of a person simply for voicing his personal opinion as part of an academic debate. The freedom of speech is a fundamental right in the academy and in human rights.


"Some of the opinions voiced by Mr. Maoz are hard to hear and the Sapir College certainly does not agree with most of what was said. However, we staunchly advocate one's right to express one's opinions within the walls of the academia without having to pay for it with one's livelihood."


Excellence commented, "We believe in the prerogative of each and every employee to his opinion, whatever it may be. However, one charged with managing public funds has no right to mix personal opinions with the job. Our duty to our colleagues is to uphold practicality, professionalism and integrity".


A former employee at Excellence, who is well acquainted with Maoz, said: "He has incredible knowledge but he does as he pleases. He has a lot of anger against the system after having attempted to get ahead at the Ministry of Finance but was blocked.


"Excellence's performance will not decline because Maoz is no longer there. Investments are not decided upon according to his input to there will be no change in the quality of the investments.


"Publicity-wise, Excellence did the right thing. Had they ignored this, it would have looked bad. Yesterday's incidence was just a trigger."


Click here to read this report in Hebrew 



פרסום ראשון: 01.12.12, 12:32
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