Likud video featuring kids portraying political rivals operating in legal grey area

Child-Bennett playing with tanks breaks alleged non-aggression pact between Likud and Bayit Yehudi, who strike back.

Likud video  (photo credit: screenshot)
Likud video
(photo credit: screenshot)
The Likud Party may be sent to the principal’s office after a campaign video featuring children dressed up as party heads Tzipi Livni, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Liberman and Yair Lapid playing wildly in a preschool was posted online over the weekend.
Israel National Council for the Child Director-General Yitzhak Kadmon and Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer both said they would complain to the Central Election Committee about the video.
The Elections Law (Propaganda Method) states: “Election propaganda will not be [created] in collaboration with children under the age of 15. For this matter ‘in collaboration with’ does not include use of children photographed or recorded in routine activities for election propaganda.”
However, the law does not specifically mention online videos as election propaganda, and the Central Election Committee has ruled inconsistently on whether or not the law applies to them.
In the clip, the children play with highly symbolic toys. Yesh Atid head Lapid, a former finance minister, struggled with an abacus.
Bennett, who advocated a more aggressive military policy during Operation Protective Edge, played with tanks.
Yisrael Beytenu’s Liberman, whose party officials are under investigation for corruption, refused to share his toys. Finally, Hatnua’s Livni, who has been in four political parties in the past decade, ran around the room making a mess.
Netanyahu tries to calm the children down, complaining “we won’t get anything done today,” and says at the end: “It’s a waste of time. This kindergarten is impossible. In order to run the country, we need a strong, stable government. Vote Likud for electoral reform.”
Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself appears in the clip, Likud’s campaign spokesman said it was not authorized for publication or broadcast. It did not appear on the party’s YouTube channel or Netanyahu’s Facebook page Saturday night, unlike other campaign videos.
“The clip was filmed based on a legal opinion prepared in advance by Likud’s legal adviser, and after the necessary authorizations, including from the parents,” the spokesman said. “Unfortunately, due to a technical error, the clip went online.”
Liberman said, upon being shown the clip on Channel 10’s “Election Headquarters” program, “until now the only one who acted mature and responsible was Avigdor Liberman. Everyone else was playing pretend.”
The Netanyahu-as-kindergarten- teacher video broke what Bennett said was a non-aggression pact between them, which the prime minister denied existed.
Bayit Yehudi immediately released a video, which it must have prepared in advance in case of an attack from Likud, that shows a theoretical vote on Palestinian statehood, in the style of the November 29, 1947, vote on Israeli independence.
“Meretz, yes. Yesh Atid, yes. Labor, yes. Shas, yes. Yisrael Beytenu, yes. Likud, yes. Bayit Yehudi, no, no, no,” an announcer says, while an old-fashioned radio is on the screen.
Then, the following words appear: “The only ones who oppose a Palestinian state. Stop apologizing. Bayit Yehudi.”
During an interview broadcast on Channel 2 Saturday night, Bayit Yehudi Bennett said: “Last time we were attacked [by Likud] and it caused a lot of harm to the nationalist camp. You don’t shoot into your own armored personnel carrier.”
However, he added: “If someone attacks us, we will attack back. We won’t shoot first, but if someone attacks us, we won’t stay quiet.”
Labor-Hatnua’s spokesman said Likud doesn’t know how to run a primary and that its MKs don’t know how to work together so it is not surprising they failed in running the country.
“Our team will know how to lead a government that will work together to make decisions and promote the most important issues for Israeli citizens,” he said.