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Anti-Bayit Yehudi 'Jewish Ghetto' ads removed
By LAHAV HARKOV
01/01/2013
Likud primary candidate funded campaign showing Bennett behind barbed wire with yellow star; party says it has no connection to ads.
 
An advertisement calling the Bayit Yehudi a ghetto and featuring party chairman Naftali Bennett behind barbed wire was removed from an unofficial Likud members’ website, after the parties complained to the police and the Central Election Committee on Tuesday.

The advertisement, which changed the colors of the Bayit Yehudi logo so it features a yellow star and called the party the “Jewish Ghetto,” links to an image on Facebook that reads: “It took 60 years for the knitted kippot [national-religious population] to break out of the sectorial ghetto in which the National Religious Party imprisoned them. Sixty years until we finally became part of the general Israeli public and were saved from the lonely ghetto in which past leaders locked us.”

“Now,” the text continues, “Naftali Bennett wants to bring us back to the old NRP. Sorry Naftali, we prefer to be part of the Israeli public and not separate. Knitted kippot will have an influence from the inside.”

The ad was funded by Moshe Ifargan, who ran for the Jerusalem district slot in the Likud primary and was placed 96th on the party’s Knesset list, and was posted on “Likudnik,” an unofficial site run by party activist Arik Ziv, and links to a Facebook page called “Likud Supporters – Campaign on the Ground,” which expresses frustration with the party’s official campaign and calls to “save it before we lose the election.”

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On Tuesday afternoon, Ifargan admitted that he paid for the advertisements, and said he has no connection to the official party campaign, but hoped to stop the Likud Beytenu joint list from losing more seats in the polls.

Ifargan agreed to pull the ads after the Likud denounced them and issued a complaint to the Central Election Committee.

“We condemn and express contempt for this sickening advertisement,” the party’s campaign stated earlier Tuesday.

“The Likud has no connection to Likudnik, and everything that appears there is the website’s responsibility,” the party explained.

In addition, MK Ofir Akunis, the Likud’s representative on the Central Election Committee, filed a complaint and demanded that the advertisements clarify that they are not connected to the Likud. Akunis will also work to remove Ifargan from the party and from the list of Knesset candidates.

Bayit Yehudi complained to police that the ad incites to violence and is offensive to Holocaust survivors.

“My brothers in the Likud, what happened to you?” Bennett, a former adviser to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, asked on his Facebook profile.

In 2011, MK Uri Ariel (National Union), second on the Bayit Yehudi list, proposed a bill that would criminalize inappropriate usage of Holocaust imagery. An ad that uses the yellow star, like the “Jewish Ghetto” advertisement, would carry a fine of NIS 100,000 and a six-month prison sentence.

The bill was approved by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset before it was dissolved ahead of the upcoming election.
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