‘This could be your daughter’ warns a Bayit Yehudi campaign poster alongside an image of a woman with hijab in Ramle.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A divisive local election campaign poster drew accusations of racism on Tuesday due to its depiction of a girl wearing a hijab alongside the words “This could be your daughter,” above the logo of Bayit Yehudi’s municipal faction in Ramle, a city with a Jewish majority and a significant Arab minority in central Israel.
The full text of the poster reads: “Hundreds of incidents of assimilation in Ramle and nobody cares. Tomorrow this could be your daughter. Only a strong Bayit Yehudi will protect Jewish Ramle.”
Zionist Union MK Miki Rosenthal responded to the campaign, saying: “The racist Bayit Yehudi Party proudly presents an election campaign for the Ramle municipality in the spirit of racial purity – nothing less. I am not ashamed of the fact that this is the political home of my education minister [Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett] and justice minister [Ayelet Shaked], who in their silence lend a hand to racism of the lowest kind. These ugly declarations must be removed – now.”
The anti-racism Tag Meir forum also condemned the campaign saying “how would we respond to a poster against Jews in Poland or Hungary?”
“It appears as though for some lists, incitement is the only tool for persuasion. The period of municipal elections is tainted by the incitement that the government encourages, and unfortunately, this is not at all surprising,” said Joint List MK Neveen Abu Rahmoun. “Today I came across a picture of this campaign on Facebook. As with the Likud list in Tel Aviv-Yafo, I will appeal to the Attorney General to disqualify the incitement.”
Earlier this month, campaign posters put up by Likud’s Tel Aviv faction in south Tel Aviv
ahead of the October 30 municipal elections – depicting African migrants and Islamists under the slogan “It’s us or them” – also drew accusations of racism and incitement.
Now Bayit Yehudi, Rahmoun said, is using racist messaging and incitement “in order to advance itself in the elections of Ramle municipality, a city in which over 20% of its residents are Arab.”
Meretz also said it will file a petition to the Elections Committee about the campaign. “The shameful campaign of Bayit Yehudi in Ramle is an escalation of the circulation of racism and hatred. It turns out that on the Right, the battle over who will be more radical and racist will not stop soon. Therefore, today we submitted a request to the Elections Committee to put an end to this insanity and order a halt to the campaign right away.”
The controversy over the campaign comes several days after news anchor Lucy Aharish and actor Tzachi Halevy’s wedding sparked a heated dialogue about intermarriage in the country, drawing both condemnation and messages of support from various politicians.
Ariel Shoham, who is running for mayor as the head of Bayit Yehudi’s Ramle list, responded to remarks about the poster, denying that it is a racist campaign. “It’s part of a painful issue we’ve been dealing with in Ramle for years,” Shoham told Channel 10 News. “This sign is not crazy; the picture is very beautiful. It is a statement – we do not encourage assimilation marriages. Regardless of Lucy and Tzachi, this is a phenomenon that is widespread and is here in Ramle – and we want to deal with it.”
The Bayit Yehudi political party responded to criticism against the Ramle faction’s campaign saying: “The party’s position on assimilation is clear: The Jewish nation must preserve its national character and preserve its tradition, religion, culture and heritage. At the same time, it is appropriate to maintain a respectful campaign style.”
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