NU-NRP launches fear-filled campaign

Ads say that without a strong right-wing party, Hamas would run rampant.

NRP, NU mks shake hands (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
NRP, NU mks shake hands
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The newly united National Union and National Religious Party unveiled a slew of fear-filled campaign slogans on Tuesday, saying that without a strong right-wing party, Hamas would run rampant and Shabbat would disappear. One glossy-orange poster showed hooded Hamas men with the sign, "Don't let them take our home." A second said, "Shalom Shabbat," inverting the normal Shabbat greeting to mean "Goodbye Shabbat." The poster warned that without a strong NU-NRP party, a secular-led government would stop protecting the Sabbath. Another slogan made a play on the Likud party's name, altering it to the word for "trap" and saying that the time had come to leave it. National Union faction leader Benny Elon said that the Likud no longer represented the right, and that the true home for the right-wing voter was the new joint list. "I hope the public will put their faith in us, so we can take them out of the trap that the Likud has led us into," said Elon, adding that his party believed it could attract many Likud voters. Don't fall into the trap of believing that a big party advances a right-wing agenda, said Elon. It was a large and powerful Likud that carried out the agenda that most disappointed its voters, he said. "You are not leaving the Likud, the Likud left you," said MK Effi Eitam (National Union) in addressing potential right-wing voters. He said that Likud party leader Binyamin Netanyahu could have stopped the Gaza pullout, but "lost the courage to do so." There is no difference, he said, between Likud and Kadima. He added that he believes their party could win as many as 15 to 20 mandates. Political rivals from both sides of the NU-NRP showed Tuesday they were willing to bury the hatchet in pursuit of that goal. MK Effi Eitam (National Union), who acrimoniously left the NRP in 2005, now found himself a political ally of NRP leader Zevulun Orlev. Similarly, Orlev and Elon, who had battled for leadership of the new list, now sat in a friendly atmosphere, side-by-side. Orlev, who had previously said that using the orange color used by settlers was a mistake, now sat behind a large orange sign with both party names stretched across it. Elon said that their platform said, "No to a Palestinian state" and "No to the sacrifice of settlements." But not all the messages were in the negative. The platform called for strengthening Jewish and traditional values as well as education. It promised to eliminate parental school fees and to make the Education Ministry its top priority. MK Shaul Yahalom (NRP) said the party would fight for social issues, including health matters. "What is and isn't in the health basket can be a matter of life and death," he said. A poll recently performed for the NU-NRP, with a 4.5 percent margin of error, showed that 50% of right-wing voters are not sure if they will vote for the Likud and another 30% doesn't plan to vote at all. The MKs said that while they believed they also represent the secular right wing, their priorities when it came to their election platform was the religious and traditionally Jewish voters, out of a fear that these values are in danger.