Bayit Yehudi fruit basket for Tu B'Shvat.
(photo credit: TWITTER)
Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Salim Joubran issued an injunction against Bayit Yehudi giving out dried fruit in honor of Tu Bishvat Wednesday, saying doing so breaks the law.
Following a complaint from a Rami Cohen of Jerusalem, Joubran ruled that the Tu Bishvat packages violate an article of the Election Law.
According to the law, ”Election campaigning cannot be accompanied by entertainment shows, including appearances by artists, instruments, singing, showing films and carrying torches.
Election campaigning cannot include giving gifts, and, with the exception of events in private homes, cannot be connected to giving out food or drink.”
The Bayit Yehudi’s Facebook page featured a post on Tuesday evening with a photo of candidate Bezalel Smotrich and young volunteers at an intersection, with the text: “Loving Israel is back in style!” The post describes the volunteers’ efforts in giving out thousands of dried fruit packages with a Tu Bishvat poem and the Bayit Yehudi logo on the label in Jerusalem, Petah Tikva, Tel Aviv, Safed, Afula, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Kiryat Ono, Judea, Samaria and Binyamin.
Cohen wrote that giving out the dried fruit is meant to convince the public to vote for Bayit Yehudi, “raising suspicion that this is an election bribe according to the law,” as the Election Law states a bribe can be made with “money, something worth money, a service or other benefit.”
Joubran wrote in his decision that the purpose of not allowing parties to give out gifts is to preserve the election’s integrity, but he deliberated as to whether or not dried fruit fall under that category.
“My conclusion is that the set of dried fruit, which is the topic of the petition, despite its low price, is a gift, and as such, this is prohibited election campaigning through giving gifts,” he wrote.
Earlier this week, Shas distributed pitas stamped with the words “[Yesh Atid leader Yair] Lapid is concerned with sushi; we are concerned with bread,” to imply that he does not care about the poor.
However, the Central Elections Committee said no one filed a complaint about Shas as of Wednesday.