It is illegal to post anonymous political advertisements on the Internet, the
Central Elections Committee chairman said on Friday.
According to the
ruling, the Election Law, which forbids the use of anonymous campaign
advertising in newspapers and bulletin boards, also applies to the
Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, chairman of the Central Elections
Committee, said there is no reason why the Election Law on propaganda methods
“should not apply to online advertisements.”
The Bayit Yehudi party
petitioned the committee on Wednesday to issue a restraining order against
Facebook and Likud Beytenu after anonymous ads tying Bayit Yehudi chairman
Naftali Bennett to controversial rabbis appeared on the social
The offending advertisements feature Bennett with white-bearded
rabbis and the headline in Hebrew “Who stands behind Bennett?” One ad says,
“Rabbi Zalman Melamed, who preaches to refuse military orders, stands behind
Bennett.” Another reads, “Half of the Bayit Yehudi list was chosen by extremist
Tekuma rabbis and is committed to listen only to them.”
The Tekuma and
Moledet parties now make up the National Union, which is running on a joint list
with Bayit Yehudi in the January 22 election.
Another ad on Facebook
says, “Rabbi Dov Lior, who thinks Baruch Goldstein is a holier martyr than all
those killed in the Holocaust, stands behind Bennett.”
was an American-born doctor who killed 29 Muslim worshipers at Hebron’s Cave of
the Patriarchs in 1994.
The party’s complaint demands that Facebook
remove the ads immediately and reveal who sponsored them, and asks the Central
Elections Committee to punish Likud Beytenu, if it is involved in funding the
Facebook said in response to an inquiry by The
Jerusalem Post that advertisers are responsible for ensuring that their ads
comply with all applicable laws, statutes and regulations.
In light of
two incidents in which Likud Beytenu or its supporters were connected to
anonymous anti-Bayit Yehudi ads, the latter party wrote in its complaint that it
is “highly probable that this time, as well, [Likud Beytenu] is behind these
The Bayit Yehudi did not, however, present any proof
that Likud Beytenu sponsored the new advertisements.
In a related
incident, Moshe Ifargan, No. 96 on the joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu Knesset
candidates list, sponsored advertisements calling the Bayit Yehudi the “Jewish
Ghetto” and featuring Bennett behind barbed wire and with a yellow
Following complaints to the police and the Central Elections
Committee by the Bayit Yehudi and the Likud, which said the ad is not funded by
or in any way connected to the party, Ifargan pulled the ads on
On Wednesday, Rubinstein came out against the “Jewish Ghetto”
“There is no need to describe the inappropriateness of using the
Holocaust for election campaign needs,” he said. “This is distressing and
offended the public. Even in a political discourse, we need limits, and the use
of Holocaust symbolism is beyond those limits.”
Last week, Likud Beytenu
funded anonymous ads in three newspapers claiming Bennett called for soldiers to
refuse orders, after he said on a televised interview that he would not be able
to evacuate settlements, even if he were commanded to do so as a
The Central Elections Committee fined Likud Beytenu and the
newspapers that published the ads for violating the Election Law.
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