Israel’s Partner Cuts Ties With Orange After Political Spat

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -
Haim Saban, chairman and chief executive officer of Saban Capital Group Inc. and the controlling shareholder of Israeli mobile phone operator Partner Communications, speaks during an event to mark the unveiling of Partner's new brand, in Tel Aviv February 16, 2016. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)
Haim Saban, chairman and chief executive officer of Saban Capital Group Inc. and the controlling shareholder of Israeli mobile phone operator Partner Communications, speaks during an event to mark the unveiling of Partner’s new brand, in Tel Aviv February 16, 2016. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

Israel’s Partner Communications has cut ties with French mobile phone giant Orange eight months after a public spat over politics.

In June, Orange CEO Stephane Richard stoked anger in Israel when he said he wanted to sever ties with local operator Partner as soon as possible, in part to improve business in the Arab world. Orange faced international criticism because Partner operates transmission towers in Jewish towns in Yehudah and Shomron.

Richard later apologized for his comments and said he opposes boycotting Israel. Still, Orange reached a deal with Partner that would allow for an early termination of contract.

Partner launched a rebranding Tuesday, replacing its orange square logo with a turquoise box. CEO Isaac Benbenisti said it had “survived the storm” and was “a proud Israeli company.”