Yachad fined NIS 4,000 for campaign violations

Mother claims party convinced her 12-year-old son to appear in video; Marzel ordered to remove photo of soldiers holding Yachad signs from Facebook.

Baruch Marzel  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Baruch Marzel
Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Salim Joubran penalized the Yahad party Thursday for using children and IDF soldiers in campaign materials.
A woman named Gal Leon petitioned the committee after Yahad activists stuck party stickers on the shirts of her 12-year-old son and a friend while they were in a Jerusalem mall and filmed them with the party’s candidates.
Leon also said the boys were offered payment to continue appearing in campaign materials.
Yahad responded that they did not ask any children to appear in their ads and did not offer them payment.
Since use of children under age 15 in election campaigns is against the law, Joubran required Yahad to pay Leon NIS 4,000 in legal fees. He also instructed the Israel Broadcasting Authority to make sure the boys do not appear in the party’s televised ads.
“It is not a coincidence that when a candidate is interviewed, children stand behind him and hold a campaign sign,” Joubran wrote.
Also Thursday, Joubran ordered Yahad candidate Baruch Marzel to remove from his Facebook page a photo in which two IDF soldiers, with their faces blurred, are holding a Yahad sign. The caption Marzel wrote for the photo was: “In the IDF they know: Only Marzel will wipe the smile off [Balad MK Haneen] Zoabi’s face.”
The chief IDF election officer petitioned the Central Elections Committee, because it is illegal to use soldiers in an election campaign in a way that would make it seem that the IDF identifies with a party.
“The photo and the caption clearly violate [the law],” Joubran wrote in his ruling. “In the picture, two soldiers are photographed in a way that creates an impression that the IDF is identified with [Yahad]. The caption declares that such support exists.”