Western. Mafia. Horror. Superheroes. Comedy. Cartoons. Those all may be familiar film genres, but now they're also types of campaign videos.
Candidates in Bayit Yehudi and Likud found very creative ways to present their positions to voters in the party primaries on January 14 and Wednesday, respectively. Campaign videos went viral on YouTube and social media in recent weeks as they tried to outdo each other.
One video that stood out with its sheer audacity was that of Likud candidate Oren Hazan. Hazan is the son of former Likud MK Yehiel Hazan, who was caught voting twice – once for himself and also on the panel of an absent MK – on a bill, and after he was accused, was caught attempting to steal the machine in question on the Knesset's security cameras.
The two Hazans appeared in a clip together with the theme from "The Godfather" playing in the background. The father smokes cigars, drinks wine and speaks in a Marlon Brando-esque wheeze, while the younger says he has an offer the people of Israel can't refuse. The elder Hazan asks his son to clear the family's name. The clip ends with the bald father telling the son not to make the mistake he made and never give up on his hair, and ruffles the younger Hazan's mane, which is a cross between Likud MKs Danny Danon and Ofir Akunis' impressive hairdos.
Danon made a Western-themed clip that brought a complaint to police. The video is a cartoon featuring Danon as the sheriff in a cowboy hat and boots. It features a song to the tune of "Oh Susanna," replacing the eponymous woman with Balad MK Hanen Zoabi, who is portrayed as a bandit terrorizing the town.
Zoabi complained to police against the clip, saying it is criminal incitement.
Another highlight of the video is Sheriff Danon blow-drying a settlement home covered in icicles, symbolizing the settlement freeze, and Likud ideological forebear Ze'ev Jabotinsky and first Likud prime minister Menachem Begin giving him a thumbs up.
Danon is not the only one whose campaign featured perceived Arab enemies – Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz sent Likud members a recording of a Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas impersonator saying they should not vote for Steinitz in a primary, because he told the whole world that the PA incites against Israel.
Bennett channels Tel Aviv hipster for "no apologies" campaign video
"Now, I will incite against him in Likud! Voting for Yuval is haval," he said, using the Hebrew word for unfortunate.
Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom preferred to leave the jokes to other candidates in his clip, which portrays cartoon versions of various politicians presenting their achievements to a voter. Hatnua's Tzipi Livni, holding a childlike Labor leader Isaac Herzog on her lap, says she's a stand-up comedian – a reference to her controversial appearance on satirical program "State of the Nation," in which she called the prime minister garbage and impotent – who managed to be in four different parties in nine years. Herzog is shown as a screaming child and Livni calms him down. Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett is only able to repeat "I'm a bro." Shalom is then the only candidate able to present a long list of things he accomplished in the last two years.
In Bayit Yehudi, party leader Bennett also led the way in humor with his viral campaign video, in which he dressed up as a bearded hipster who apologizes for everything he does. The video kicked off the campaign's new "no apologies" slogan.
Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman's video showed Superman being asked to find NIS 70 million for religious-Zionist schools and lower their tuition and other endless tasks. Superman holds a high stack of binders with all the information, and the person assigning him the work tells him to do it all quietly.
Superman then runs into a phone booth (even though in Israel they don't have doors), spins around, and becomes Wortzman. A woman passing nearby swoons upon seeing him. Wortzman tightens his tie, and the screen shows a cover of a comic book with the deputy minister at the center, and Bennett in an Iron Man suit and faction chairwoman Ayelet in Black Widow's leather cat-suit standing behind him.
Im Tirzu founder Ronen Shoval, who is running in Bayit Yehudi, created a "Blair Witch Project" parody, in which ominous music plays while someone lost in the woods is terrorized by a zombie-esque Livni. Shoval swoops in to save the day by rolling up a copy of Ha'aretz and throwing it far away, and zombie-Livni chases after it like a dog.
One of the more bizarre Bayit Yehudi videos came from Ze'ev Schwartz. The clip features Noam Jacobson, an actor from the Caroline Glick-produced right-wing satirical program Latma, asking what Zionism means and, essentially listing Schwartz's resume – head of World Bnei Akiva, the religious-Zionist youth movement, encouraging Aliyah, starting international Jewish education organization Torah Mitzion and a Torah-study program in India for Israeli backpackers. Yet the entire time, Jacobson talks in a strange voice that makes it seem like he's mocking Schwartz, which is probably not the effect the candidate was looking for.
Perhaps Shaked knows what Bayit Yehudi voters like best: Slamming the Left. Her campaign video is just a series of clips of her shouting down left-wing co-panelists on various television programs.
Some on the Left are not so happy about the shouting, however.
While Labor MKs have not, for the most part, taken the humorous route ahead of their party's January 13 primary, MK Miki Rosenthal did make a video stating that "any enemy of [Likud MK] Miri Regev is a friend of mine."
It showed an infamous clip of a panel in which Rosenthal and Regev participated before the 2013 election, in which Regev said "Regev is from the hood, applause!" gaining her the nickname "Miri Regev Applause." During the same event, Regev repeatedly called Rosenthal "Shakshuka," after his documentary "The Shakshuka System" about Israeli market concentration and corruption.
It's unclear if the clip is more helpful to Rosenthal or to Regev, or if both will benefit from it.
Another rare spot of humor in Labor is Eldad Yaniv. In the last election, he formed his own anti-corruption party called "New Land," which released YouTube videos about corruption Yaniv saw in his many years as a political advisor to former prime minister Ehud Barak, among others.
Rani Blair, the actor who "interviewed" Yaniv in those 2012 videos, appeared in a video the candidate he made this month giving him permission to run in the Labor primary but warning him that "I'd better not catch you with dollars in your socks," and other references to accusations Yaniv made in the last campaign.