Negative to dominate as election ads begin tonight

By contrast, none of Labor's ads will be negative. They will portray Barak as the hero of Gaza.

elections2009_248 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
The pre-election atmosphere will heat up a notch on Tuesday when two weeks of nightly televised election advertisements begin on all three main channels. Reflecting decreased interest in the commercials, the Knesset decided to shorten them from three weeks to two and the networks decided to remove them from prime time. The ads will run on Channel 10 at 6 p.m., Channel 1 at 10 p.m. and Channel 2 at 11:15. The amount of time each of the 34 parties receives for commercials is based on how many MKs each party has in the current Knesset, so Kadima will dominate the broadcasts and new parties will barely be seen. Negative ads attacking rival parties will dominate, especially on the first night, led by Kadima's commercials attacking Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu. At a press conference at Kadima's Petah Tikva headquarters on Monday, party strategists revealed their secret weapon for the ads: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. An ad features Olmert's weekend interview in which he declared that Labor chairman Ehud Barak was Israel's worst prime minister. "He is mistaken," the ad says of Kadima's former leader. "Netanyahu is the worst prime minister in the history of the state." Another anti-Netanyahu ad from Kadima depicts a polygraph machine as Netanyahu vowed to oppose the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, while a picture shows him voting in favor of the plan. Kadima's positive ads feature party head Tzipi Livni talking about her family and former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice praising her. "Our message is that on February 10, we will have a different kind of prime minister," Kadima strategist Reuven Adler said. "It's the last chance for people to elect a prime minister who has not failed in the position in the past." Asked why they advised Livni to maximize her public appearances after they had Olmert and former prime minister Ariel Sharon do the opposite, Kadima strategists said it had nothing to do with the party being under pressure due to poll numbers. "The pressure is not on us," Kadima strategist Eyal Arad said. "We know what we are doing. Livni is less known. Bibi and Barak are known, but not for good. There is thirst to hear what she has to say. "Bibi wants to drift secretly to the Prime Minister's Office," he continued. "We see the pressure and fear in Bibi avoiding the press, while Tzipi appears at every relevant forum." The Likud will attack Livni in its ads, but most of its commercials will be positive and will feature Netanyahu, former IDF chief of General Staff Moshe Ya'alon and former minister Bennie Begin. One anti-Livni ad will portray Livni as indecisive and zigzagging - for instance, supporting the Second Lebanon War but calling it unwinnable, and calling to topple Hamas while giving them money. The slogan "it's out of her league" is purposely read by a woman so as not to look chauvinist. By contrast, none of Labor's ads will be negative. They will portray Defense Minister Ehud Barak as the hero of Operation Cast Lead and interview citizens who say that they sleep better at night thanks to him. Israel Beiteinu's ads will attack Arab MKs. Habayit Hayehudi and the National Union's ads attack each other. Shas's will feature US President Barack Obama's "Yes, we can" slogan. In Meretz-Hatnua Hahadasha ads, candidate Nitzan Horovitz drinks from a toilet to highlight the problem of water pollution. The smaller parties will have gimmicks to attract attention. The Power to the Handicapped Party will feature disabled people having sex to prove that they are abled, while the Green Leaf Party will feature chairman Gil Kopatch smoking a joint on the grave of Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion.