Bayit Yehudi to Facebook: Reveal attack ad funding

Anonymous ads tying Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett to controversial rabbis appear on the social network.

Attack ad against Bayit Yehudi 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Bayit Yehudi)
Attack ad against Bayit Yehudi 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Bayit Yehudi)
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 network.
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.”
Baruch 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 anonymous advertisements.
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 advertisements.”
However, the Bayit Yehudi did not present any proof that Likud Beytenu sponsored the new advertisements.
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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 Tuesday.
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 reservist.
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.