Bayit Yehudi petitioned the Central Elections Committee to issue a restraining
order against Facebook and Likud Beytenu on Wednesday, after anonymous ads that
tied party leader 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.”
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.”
Goldstein was an American-born doctor who killed 29 Arab worshipers at the 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 responded to an inquiry by The
Jerusalem Post that advertisers are responsible for insuring 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 probably that this time, as well, [Likud Beytenu] is behind these
However, the Bayit Yehudi did not present any proof that
Likud Beytenu sponsored the new advertisements.
Moshe Ifargan, a
candidate for Jerusalem district representative in the Likud primary and number
96 on the joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list, sponsored advertisements calling
Bayit Yehudi the “Jewish Ghetto” and featuring Bennett behind barbed wire and
with a yellow star.
Following complaints to the police and the Central
Elections Committee by Bayit Yehudi and the Likud, who said the ad is not funded
by or in any way connected to the party, Ifargan pulled the ads on
On Wednesday, Central Elections Committee chairman Justice
Elyakim Rubinstein came out against the “Jewish Ghetto” ads.
“There is no
need to describe the inappropriateness of using the Holocaust for election
campaign needs,” Rubinstein 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 breaking the Election Law, which forbids
the use of anonymous campaign advertising.