A necklace holding a gold medallion with an etching of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s face next to a Star of David was offered to attendees of a private political event in Givat Ze’ev on Sunday evening. Attendees included Likud MKs Israel Katz, Keren Barak and Keti Shitrit.
A video circulated on social media showing Likud primary candidate Heidi Mozes putting the necklace around Katz’s neck saying: “This is a declaration of loyalty.” Katz immediately removed the necklace.
אמיתי - בכנס הליכוד הערב בגבעת זאב עונדים לח״כ ישראל כ״ץ תליון זהב בדמות נתניהו שמהווה ״שרשרת הצהרת נאמנות״. העונדת היא היידי מוזס שמתמודדת בפריימריס pic.twitter.com/BQUlgFnj13— דפנה ליאל (@DaphnaLiel) July 17, 2022
“We are proud to be in this party, in which we have excellent representatives and a soon-to-be prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu,” Mozes is then heard saying.
Writing on Twitter on Monday morning, Katz said, “Yesterday, at a gathering in Givat Ze’ev, someone tried to put a necklace around my neck. I never wear necklaces, and therefore, as you can see in the video – I immediately removed it without knowing what it was. I would not have responded to such an unimportant episode, if the media had not tweeted: ‘Israel Katz wore a necklace with the figure of Bibi.’ This is what biased falsification looks like.”
הלהיט החדש: שרשרת נאמנות לנתניהו, בציפוי זהב טהור. pic.twitter.com/r3KmhYOPiX— אברהם בלוך (@avribloch) July 17, 2022
Netanyahu responded to the incident on Monday afternoon.
“No medallion or declaration of loyalty is necessary,” he said in a video. “The loyalty that we need is loyalty to our values and principles. Safeguarding the land of Israel, Israel’s security, the fight against Iran, a free market economy, lowering of prices, the high cost of living; these are the real things.”
“Above all is loyalty to this,” he said, pointing at a pin with the flag of Israel on his lapel. “The flag that was lowered, and we will raise it back up.”
The necklace quickly gained popularity, however, and its creator, Raz Pereg, said in an interview on Ynet that his phone had not stopped ringing all morning with requests to buy it.
The necklace’s name on the website selling it is “the necklace of loyalty.” It is sold in silver or gold and, costs between NIS 79 and NIS 99.
"The more people who wear the necklace, the more the Left will understand that we are still here and do not intend to give up."Website
“A necklace that symbolizes the return of the real prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the premiership,” the website reads. “The more people who wear the necklace, the more the Left will understand that we are still here and do not intend to give up.” It calls upon buyers to upload pictures while wearing the necklace to social media
Some support, others against
While some Likud members said they had no problem with it, others took issue.
“This has no place,” MK David Bitan said on Army Radio. “There are some activists who stepped out of bounds. This does not represent the Likud, and one should not get excited about every one of them.”
Mozes, on the other hand, said that she would continue to wear the necklace proudly.
“If the queen of England has a coin, why shouldn’t Netanyahu?” she said in an interview on 103 FM.
Mozes, daughter of former United Torah Judaism MK Menachem Eliezer Mozes, was asked whether this constituted idol worship. “Of course not, people are getting mixed up,” she answered. “When we see all the members of Labor come and choose [Labor leader Merav] Michaeli to continue to be the leader, that is not idol worship? What is the difference? When it is on the Right, it is idol worship, but [when it is] on the Left, it isn’t?”
In a similar affair last week, Likud MK Shlomo Karhi was photographed with a supporter and a gold statuette of Netanyahu’s head. The photo triggered responses from many coalition MKs. Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, for example, tweeted a verse from the Ten Commandments that prohibits idol worship: “You shall not make for yourselves an idol nor any image.”
Yamina MK Yomtob Kalfon took a shot at Karhi, writing on Twitter: “Meet Shlomo Karhi’s new tefillin.”