Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Bayit Yehudi doubled down on its campaign against Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and his economic policies on Monday.
Party chairman Naftali Bennett posted an image on his Facebook wall in which his face has the caption “Bayit Yehudi initiated free ambulance services for the elderly,” and Lapid’s face has the caption “Yair opposed, sent them to hitchhike.”
Bennett wrote that in October 2013, then-senior citizens minister Uri Orbach, who passed away last month, and MK Amnon Cohen (Shas) proposed to exempt the elderly from paying for ambulance services, but then-health minister Yael German blocked the bill.
“Now, Yair Lapid and Yesh Atid’s election campaign promises that they will make sure to help the elderly economically. Ignore the campaign, check the facts,” Bennett added.
“The facts point to Bennett,” was the underline on the graphic, which appeared on several other images the party released in recent days, stating Bennett lowered the cost of living by 5.5 percent while Lapid increased the cost of housing by 5%, Bennett demanded unemployment payments for the formerly self-employed and Lapid opposed, and Bennett supported raising the salaries of soldiers in mandatory service and Lapid opposed.
Lapid responded that “thousands of laws are proposed that don’t pass,” and the Bayit Yehudi ads are “not just [factually] wrong, they’re low.”
“It’s like they said ‘let’s find something insulting and disgusting to say about our rivals,’” he told Army Radio Monday.
“Does that give anyone votes?” According to Lapid, negative campaigning “only increases the public’s revulsion from and hatred of politics.”
Speaking at a campaign event at a day care center for the elderly in Rosh Ha’ayin, Lapid said he refuses to be dragged into a negative campaign, even though parties on Right and Left have come out against him.
“I will not denigrate anyone,” he vowed.
Nevertheless, Lapid launched his campaign by giving a speech in which he repeatedly called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alienated from the public and another in which he called the practice of Netanyahu, Bennett, Construction Minister Uri Ariel and Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky, to earmark funds, especially for settlements, corrupt.
On Monday evening he said on Channel 10 that he doesn’t think Netanyahu cares about Israelis.
A Bayit Yehudi video from late last month compared Bennett and Lapid, saying the former “is handsome like a movie star” and the latter “started balding in 1987” when he was 15 years old, before listing things Bennett did to lower the cost of living while saying all Lapid did was announce his Zero Value- Added Tax on a first home plan, while housing prices went up.
Another two videos, part of a series called “the real story,” show Bennett reading “Spot The Dog Learns Math by Yair Lapid” and explaining the Bayit Yehudi leader’s opposition to Lapid’s economic policies. One said Lapid’s plan increased demand without supply, and another said Yesh Atid’s campaign claims the party will help small businesses, but Lapid blocked Bennett’s proposals to do so.
Bayit Yehudi focused its campaign on Lapid in recent days, because the party found that many voters are debating between it and Yesh Atid.
A party source said there are also voters deliberating between Bayit Yehudi and Kulanu, but that the latter party is rightwing and they prefer to increase the Right bloc by drawing in voters from the outside.
Yesh Atid may not release overtly negative messages, but the party is clearly working on drawing Bayit Yehudi voters by having MKs Aliza Lavie, Shai Piron and Elazar Stern bring the campaign to religious-Zionist communities and publications.
In the 2013 election, Bayit Yehudi lost about three seats from what polls showed in the weekend before the vote, when no more polls are taken, after Channel 2 News aired a video of candidate Jeremy Gimpel talking about the Temple Mount without the Aksa Mosque on it, taken out of context from a lecture on the Book of Ezra. Yesh Atid received nearly double the seats polls projected it would.