Police on Monday were investigating suspicions that Dudu Topaz, one of Israel's leading television entertainers, had intended to harm Amos Regev, editor-in-chief of free daily Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom (Israel Today).
On Sunday, Topaz was arrested and accused of ordering a team of goons to assault two senior TV network executives and an actor's agent.
and the connection with Menachem Begin:
Topaz is no stranger to controversy. He gained notoriety from comments he made during a Labor Party conference in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square (then called Malchei Yisrael Square) in 1981, when he said, "It's a pleasure to see the crowd here, and it's a pleasure to see that there are no chahchahim [a derogatory word alluding to Israeli Jews of Middle Eastern background] who ruin election gatherings. The Likud's chachchahim are at Metzudat Ze'ev [Likud Party headquarters]."
Topaz's comments prompted then prime minister Menachem Begin to famously remark during a speech to Likud supporters, "Until yesterday I did not know the word chachchahim, until I heard the entertainer Dudu Topaz call Likud's people chachchahim." Some observers believe Begin used Topaz's comments to help solidify Sephardi support for the Likud.
As you can read in this Hebrew video clip, and see and hear, too, in our museum, his actual words were:
the tzachtzachim of the Likud of the Metzudat Ze'ev are barely the gatekeepers [at the army bases] if they at all go to the Army. Here [at Kikar Malchei Yisrael] are those officers and other ranks of the elite combat units...
What bothered Begin even more than the blatant falsehood of the statement and its appeal to hatred and ethnic racism was that tens of thousands of Labor Party supporters applauded Topaz.