A day after prime ministerial hopeful Gideon Sa’ar suspended his advisers from the Lincoln Project, Yamina complained to the Central Elections Committee about Sa’ar’s New Hope Party sponsoring attack ads.
Sa’ar will no longer work with his American advisers who are being accused of covering up a sexual harassment scandal involving Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver and pocketing millions raised by their political action committee.
There had been speculation at the time that the Lincoln Project’s advisers would help Sa’ar defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with negative ads, as they did with Trump, but Sa’ar said his party “didn’t make any nasty ads.”
Yamina initially complained to the Central Elections Committee against the Outbrain digital media company, after it anonymously distributed negative articles about Yamina head Naftali Bennett. When the committee asked for a response from Outbrain, the response ended up coming from lawyers of New Hope.
Election laws forbid publishing anonymous political propaganda. New Hope admitted authorizing the articles.
Bennett responded with anger, saying that “while I am fighting against the coronavirus, Sa’ar acted clandestinely to distribute hate in a cowardly, illegal negative campaign.
“Gideon, this is not the way to build unity,” Bennett wrote.
Sa’ar responded in a letter to Bennett in which he said Yamina started the fight by criticizing him. Sa’ar wrote Bennett that he is working for Netanyahu and harming the effort to replace him.
“I, unlike you, have never used dirty tactics like employing private investigators against rival parties, so you cannot preach and roll your eyes,” Sa’ar wrote Bennett.
Meanwhile, the head of the Central Elections Committee, Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman, rejected on Wednesday an appeal requesting to forbid MK Bezalel Smotrich from running in the March elections using the Religious Zionist Party as his party’s name.
The party responded to the decision by calling the appeal “petty” and said that the “varied and united list will continue to look after the religious-Zionist community.”
Hagay Hacohen contributed to this report.