Bayit Yehudi withdraws soldiers ad after complaint

Peace Now's Oppenheimer points out Election Law forbids use of IDF in a way that looks like the army supports a party.

Banned Bayit Yehudi IDF ad 390 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Banned Bayit Yehudi IDF ad 390
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Bayit Yehudi Party withdrew an advertisement featuring IDF soldiers, after Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer petitioned the Central Election Committee with the argument that it was illegal and deceived the public because it used a doctored photo.
However, the party plans to continue featuring IDF soldiers in its campaign advertising.
Oppenheimer referred to an advertisement featuring four IDF soldiers in the desert, one sporting a kippa and tzitzit, and the text, “We love the country, we serve the country.”
According to the Peace Now leader, Bayit Yehudi is attempting to “appropriate military service and use the IDF and its soldiers as part of its election campaign.”
The section of the Election Law dealing with campaign advertisements reads: “Election propaganda may not use the IDF in a way that creates an impression that the IDF identifies with a party or list of candidates; this article does not prevent a party or list of candidates from expressing support for the IDF.”
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“The IDF is the army of the nation and not the army of the Bayit Yehudi [Party],” Oppenheimer wrote. “It has secular and religious, leftists and rightists, settlers and kibbutzniks, kippa-wearers and atheists, Beduin, Druse, Israel natives and new immigrants.”
He added that “the attempt of any party to appropriate the army hurts the IDF and its soldiers, first and foremost, and creates a false image that the IDF represents a political stream within Israeli society.”
In addition, Oppenheimer pointed out that images in the ads had been doctored to add a kippa to a soldier’s head.
A Bayit Yehudi spokesman responded that “it’s hard to say we fell out of our chairs [from surprise] when we heard that Yariv Oppenheimer, leader of Peace Now, opposes an advertisement that supports IDF soldiers.”
The spokesman added, “We are done using that specific advertisement, thanks to the free publicity from Peace Now, and we’ll be happy if they give us more publicity services on the rest of our ads that embrace IDF soldiers. Oppenheimer’s attacks helped build many Jewish homes in Israel, and now they help build the Bayit Yehudi [Hebrew for ‘Jewish Home’]. In the end, Oppenheimer will vote for us.”