Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Likud Party to stop an attack ad on Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz featuring an image of soldiers’ graves.
In the latest episode of LikudTV, the webcast aired on Netanyahu’s Facebook page, commentator Avishai Ivri said: “Gantz is Left and Left is dangerous. They’re trying to hide it and blur it, but the public is not stupid and is not willing to be a guinea pig at the cost of hundreds of lives.”
During Ivri’s remarks, a photo of military cemetery at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem appeared, followed by a picture of Gantz.
Netanyahu, whose brother Yoni was buried on Mount Herzl after he was killed in action during the raid on Entebbe, ordered the party to erase the video, investigate the “unfortunate incident” and take steps to ensure it’s not repeated. The Likud said the campaign employees responsible for the use of the image were suspended, including Ivri.
“As a bereaved brother who for 43 years goes to the grave of my brother on Mount Herzl, I understand the pain of the families,” Netanyahu said.
Blue and White responded that “fallen IDF soldiers and members of the family of bereavement could never have imagined the prime minister will one day use their personal grief as a means to promote a political campaign. Netanyahu, apologize to these grieving families at once, or this stain will follow you for the rest of your life. Shame on you.”
Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, third on the Blue and White list, said, “It is simply unacceptable that the memory of those that died in Israel’s defense and the honor of their surviving loved ones, that which has kept us united and connected throughout Israeli history, will be utilized as a campaign tool, even at a time of personal or legal hardship.”
“Netanyahu is destroying statesmanship on the altar of political survival,” Ya’alon added. “We have sunk to the lowest of lows. Enough is enough! It is time for a different leadership!”
Labor leader Avi Gabbay said Netanyahu should not “bring [his] filth into military sections” of cemeteries, and called for the prime minister to apologize to Gantz and bereaved families.
In response to left-wing criticism on Twitter, Ivri defended the video: “My friends are lying under those stones because of you. I would be quiet if I were you.”
“Some died unnecessarily because of your fantasies,” Ivri added, “and if I succeed in saving even one life from falling on the altar of your delusions, it will be worth everything to me.”