Political parties across the spectrum have prepared for weeks ahead of Tuesday
night’s election commercials broadcast, with video clips featuring maps,
cartoons, humor, improvisation and more.
The televised “Election
Propaganda Broadcasts,” as they are officially called, will first be broadcast
in Hebrew on Tuesday at 6 p.m. on Channel 10, followed by Channel 1 at 10 p.m.
and Channel 2 at 11:15 p.m. They will continue on Sundays through Thursdays
until January 21. Election commercials will also be played on Israel Radio and,
for the first time, on Army Radio.
The ads are played all at once, and
time is allocated according to the party’s size in the current Knesset, while
new parties get a standard amount. It is illegal for parties to buy television
or radio ads to be broadcast at any other time.
Likud Beytenu has
released previews of its commercials in recent weeks, most of which prominently
feature Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
One clip, aimed at amplifying
the “King Bibi” effect, is almost entirely in English, consisting of the prime
minister’s speeches before the US Congress and the UN, with uplifting music in
The commercial features Netanyahu’s standing ovation from
Congress, his discussion of the Jewish people’s history in Israel, and his
drawing a red line on a cartoon of a bomb to indicate the Iranian nuclear
The commercial concludes with the message: When Netanyahu speaks,
the world listens.
Another Likud Beytenu clip shows the prime minister in
front of a map in his office, discussing regional threats. In the video,
Netanyahu points to Syria, Lebanon and Sinai as sources of terror attacks that
his government worked to prevent, and indicated Iran on the map, saying he
enlisted the world’s help to fight the nuclear threat. In addition, he mentioned
Iron Dome batteries installed in the South and Egyptian border
Though Likud Beytenu did not send previews of clips featuring
celebrities, some of its commercials are expected to feature them, as the party
requested a legal opinion from Central Election Committee chairman Judge Elyakim
Rubinstein on the issue, and he allowed it. Celebrities that have come out in
support of the Likud in recent weeks include former soccer player Haim Revivo
and popular singer Eyal Golan.
Labor would not reveal details of its
commercials, but campaign spokesman Amir Koren explained its approach, which
could be described as the opposite of Likud Beytenu’s.
the Labor list, including party leader Shelly Yacimovich, were put in front of a
plain backdrop and given a topic to discuss. The candidates improvised answers
and “spoke from the heart,” as Koren said.
The Labor campaign invited The
behind the scenes when Yacimovich filmed her portion of the
commercial in December. Dressed in her usual oxford shirt, Yacimovich spoke
directly to the camera about how her parents saved money to pay her university
tuition. The clip, she explained, is meant to appeal to the middle class, with a
cliche-free approach to economics.
The Bayit Yehudi will continue with
its campaign to portray its party as the most “combative” – that is, with the
most impressive military credentials – and features the slogan “we’ll fight for
you in the Knesset, too.”
The party’s first ad shows a man in a suit and
tie ready to be filmed for a commercial.
Someone off screen asks “what’s
with your shoes?” and the camera pans down to show the man is wearing scuffed
army boots. Then, the military records of several of the party’s candidates are
The party’s campaign manager, Moshe Klughaft, said the Bayit
Yehudi’s other ads will emphasize the party’s young list and the way it
represents different parts of Israeli society – kibbutzim, the periphery, and
both secular and religious.
Other Bayit Yehudi commercials will feature
videos, concepts and images contributed by the party’s supporters via a Facebook
The Tzipi Livni Party’s ad begins with a blue screen and
Netanyahu speaking about talks with the Palestinians. As the prime minister’s
voice is heard, “Hatikva” plays and the screen becomes black. The message “Why
does it feel so black?” appears. Then, the blackness slowly disappears as Livni
talks about hope. The screen clears up, and photos appear of Livni hugging and
Another Tzipi Livni Party commercial contrasts Netanyahu
and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman talking tough about Hamas, with
Hamas leaders celebrating victory.
“Bibi and Liberman – Fear,” the ad
reads. Then, Livni speaks about a Jewish and democratic state, while Israeli
flags wave in the background, and the screen says she will bring hope to
Yesh Atid had yet to finish preparing its commercials at press
time and declined to comment.
Kadima’s ad relies on the high name
recognition its leader, Shaul Mofaz, enjoys, as opposed to the lists of other
parties. In the commercial, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
chairman and Kadima MK Ronnie Bar- On, who is taking a break from politics, is
shown on a white background with photographs of candidates from Labor, the Bayit
Yehudi, Yesh Atid and The Tzipi Livni Party.
Bar-On points to the
pictures and asks: “Who do you want to see in the Knesset? Inexperienced
candidates, or the head of Kadima, former IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz?
Seriously, do you really prefer them over Mofaz?”
Although Meretz’s campaign
said televised election ads have less of an influence in the age of social media
and YouTube, the party produced several commercials.
One is an animated
clip explaining to left-wing voters why they should choose Meretz, instead of
moving to Center-Left parties like Labor, The Tzipi Livni Party and Yesh Atid.
Another features a message from Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On, and yet another
lists the party’s accomplishments in the last Knesset, in order to make the
point that it is possible to have an influence from the opposition.
the opposite side of the political spectrum is Strong Israel, which has already
released one of its commercials via YouTube. The ad begins with a message that
many Israeli Arabs do not pay their share of taxes and a jingle calling for
“hawks in the voting booth and hawks in the Knesset.”
Then, the clip
shows the party’s leader, MK Michael Ben-Ari, offering tea and saying “fadel”
(please in Arabic) to Strong Israel’s other leader, Arieh Eldad, who accepts and
says “shukran” (thank you in Arabic). The two continue to have a conversation in
Arabic with Hebrew subtitles essentially saying that all citizens must fulfill
their obligations to society before receiving benefits.
Shas and UTJ also
produce video clips, though their electorate – especially that of UTJ – tends
not to watch television.
Shas’s clips always prominently feature the
party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, while both parties have tended in
recent elections to focus campaign commercials on their work to increase welfare
Am Shalem, started by maverick Shas MK Haim Amsalem, will
broadcast an attack ad on Shas, featuring people with their mouths taped
“Shas is silencing you,” the ad says. Amsalem continues to say that
it is not against the Torah for religious people to study the Education
Ministry’s core curriculum and learn math, and that they should work, as well.
The clip concludes with tape being removed from a woman’s mouth.
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