Shas removes second controversial election ad

Ad features old woman who does not remember being filmed; ACRI to appeal to High Court about censorship of campaign ads.

January 10, 2013 20:17
2 minute read.
Shas conversions election ad

Shas conversions election ad 370. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)


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Shas courted trouble with another one of its election ads on Thursday, after earlier removing its commercial casting aspersions on the state conversion process.

The family of an elderly woman appearing in one of Shas’s advertisements complained that the party misrepresented her as childless and alone, even though the family takes care of her.

In addition, the woman is not of sound mind, and her family says she does not remember agreeing to appear in the commercial or having participated in its production.

Shas agreed to remove the parts of the ad featuring the woman.

Thursday, the third day of what is officially known as Election Propaganda Broadcasts, was the first day since they began on Tuesday in which Shas’s conversion ad was not aired, after the Central Elections Committee received several complaints.

Shas’s campaign ad ridicules the state conversion system, and features a tall blonde woman named Marina, speaking Hebrew with a thick Russian accent, punctuated with phrases in Russian, who dials “star-conversion” on a fax machine while standing under a wedding canopy with her fiancé.

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A return fax rolls in immediately with her conversion certificate.

Central Elections Committee head Justice Elyakim Rubinstein said on Wednesday that “indeed there may be a sense of general injury” stemming from the ad, “which is preferable to avoid,” and noted that Shas had agreed to withdraw the commercial “for the sake of peace.”

Religious freedom NGO Hiddush petitioned the committee on Thursday to stop Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef from giving sermons on Radio Kol Barama, saying it is a form of illegal electioneering.

The committee has yet to make a decision about Yosef’s radio broadcasts.

The party premiered a music video to its campaign theme song, “Shas For a Country With Soul,” by the party’s official singer Benny Elbaz, featuring co-leaders Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias and Arye Deri, and Yosef.

The video showed Shas supporters making the A-OK sign with their fingers, which also spells out Shas in Hebrew.

In addition, Channel 10 News reported on Thursday night that the party plans to release another music video for a song titled “He’s Back.” Elbaz sings the song to the tune of his hit “He’s Innocent,” a popular protest song about Deri’s 2000-2002 incarceration.

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