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Jerusalem - Politicians Slam Shas Election Ad As Racist

Published on: January 8, 2013 11:41 PM
Last updated on: January 9, 2013 09:54 AM
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Shas conversions election ad Photo: YouTube ScreenshotShas conversions election ad Photo: YouTube Screenshot

Jerusalem - A Shas TV campaign commercial which casts aspersions on the state conversion system has been labelled as “racist” by several politicians.

In the ad, a tall blonde woman named Marina, who is speaking Hebrew with a thick Russian accent, punctuated with phrases in Russian, dials “star conversion” on a fax machine while standing under a wedding canopy with her fiancé.

“Wait, you’re not Jewish?” her Sephardi-looking husband-to-be asks in surprise, as the reply fax rolls in.

“Now I am,” Marina responds happily.

Nino Abesadze, a Labor MK and head of the working group for immigrants within the party, denounced the commercial and appealed to the Central Elections Committee to ban the ad.

“The Shas broadcast is racist and ridicules the immigrant population,” Abesadze said. “It’s hard to imagine that in Israel in 2013, they could present in such simplistic terms a topic that is so painful and complicated, and give a platform at the expense of the taxpayer to such shadowy opinions.”

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Seth Farber, an Orthodox rabbi and director of the religious rights lobbying group ITIM, also slammed the commercial and accused the party of hypocrisy.

“The chief rabbi of Israel, who is a signatory to every conversion certificate in the state of Israel, is allowing the party with which he identifies to belittle people who passed the state conversion system and people who are currently stuck in that system due to its intolerable bureaucracy,” Farber said in reference to Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

Farber also pointed out that Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef approved all state conversions, following a legal battle on the issue.

“This ad campaign is a slap in the face for immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Farber added, noting that “the Torah mentions 36 times the prohibition of denigrating converts” and calling on Yosef to ban the campaign.

Yoel Razvozov, who holds No.8 on Yesh Atid’s electoral list, also condemned the Shas ad.

“The commercial stereotypes immigrants from the former Soviet Union in a racist manner,” he said. “The campaign of hatred and racism underlines the dark and malicious side of the Shas party, which on a regular basis steals money from the middle class for the benefit of a narrow sector which does not serve in the army.”

Renegade Shas MK and Am Shalem party leader Haim Amsalem also weighed in: “Shas’s broadcast against converts is racist and is a direct continuation of their ugly and divisive sectarian campaign.”


Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post


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1

 Jan 09, 2013 at 08:00 AM Reb Yid Says:

What a bunch of yahoos. Everyone knows this is not directed against immigrants, but rather against lax conversion standards. Labor is just trying to use phony "racism" charges to get rid of all other political parties' advertising, and Farber is doing his usual jackass rabblerousing against everything frum in eretz yisroel. I especially like "The chief rabbi of Israel, who is a signatory to every conversion certificate in the state of Israel..." He knows very well that the CR is required to sign the certificate, and that there's nothing wrong with the CR wanting to make conversion standards more rigorous. Are the traffic police not allowed to belittle lax patrol standards? I never heard of a rabbi not being allowed to push for higher standards.

2

 Jan 09, 2013 at 10:32 AM Zevee Says:

I think the Ad is adorable

3

 Jan 09, 2013 at 10:48 AM Secular Says:

The campaign ad is hypocritical and reprehensible.

It is hypocritical because, as stated, the Sefardic chief Rabbi signs off on all state conversions. Furthermore, Shas' Eli Yishai has been minister of the interior for years (and now internal affairs) why did he not addressed the issue then ? Moreover, even if Shas were to obtain 20 Knesset seats, what are they proposing to do about State conversions and the immigrants from the soviet bloc who have already converted ?

It is also hypocritical that Shas would sponsor TV ads when Chareidim in general frown upon watching TV. But TV content notwithstanding, the fact that SHAS has kissing and hugging by males and females underscores their blantant disregard for Halacha in their quest for power. Was Rabbi Ovadia Yosef consulted on the nature and content of the ad ? Did he see it? Are we to believe that Rabbi Yosef endorsed the ad? What other things do Shas members do that is not under the auspices of Rabbi Yosef?

What is Shas hoping to achieve in this coming election that they have not already done or tried (other than get Aryeh Deri to have another ministerial position after jail) ?

4

 Jan 09, 2013 at 11:04 AM Not_just_that___ Says:

Reply to #3  
Secular Says:

The campaign ad is hypocritical and reprehensible.

It is hypocritical because, as stated, the Sefardic chief Rabbi signs off on all state conversions. Furthermore, Shas' Eli Yishai has been minister of the interior for years (and now internal affairs) why did he not addressed the issue then ? Moreover, even if Shas were to obtain 20 Knesset seats, what are they proposing to do about State conversions and the immigrants from the soviet bloc who have already converted ?

It is also hypocritical that Shas would sponsor TV ads when Chareidim in general frown upon watching TV. But TV content notwithstanding, the fact that SHAS has kissing and hugging by males and females underscores their blantant disregard for Halacha in their quest for power. Was Rabbi Ovadia Yosef consulted on the nature and content of the ad ? Did he see it? Are we to believe that Rabbi Yosef endorsed the ad? What other things do Shas members do that is not under the auspices of Rabbi Yosef?

What is Shas hoping to achieve in this coming election that they have not already done or tried (other than get Aryeh Deri to have another ministerial position after jail) ?

Stop being such a blowhard. There's no hypocrisy. Yishai had little room to maneuver on this issue in the past. Shas is a chareidi-approach party, but it appeals to secular voters, too. And who says halacha was not followed in the making of this advert?

5

 Jan 09, 2013 at 11:14 AM Shtarker Says:

Shas can't really believe that this stunt will win sympathy for their cause. It must be for internal consumption, to keep the Shas-niks in line.

6

 Jan 09, 2013 at 11:23 AM yaaak Says:

The only thing wrong with the ad is a lack of Tzeni'ut. It makes its point and a good one.

It is most definitely not racist. They could have used an American woman instead of a Russian one, but just like we say דבר הכתוב בהווה, we could say דבר הסרט בהווה.

The fact that it got so much attention is a good thing for Shas. Even the undeserved bad publicity should help them out here. So, keep these types of videos coming!

7

 Jan 09, 2013 at 12:10 PM Chachom Says:

The point is NOT to belittle converts but the other way around, the process of how conversions are done, creates more issues of invalid conversions, and thus putting all immigrants under the state of perhaps being non Jewish.

8

 Jan 09, 2013 at 06:34 PM ShmuelG Says:

The ad is great! As for the "racism" accusation, what do you expect from the left? Seems that in Israel, just as here, whenever the left runs out of substantive arguments, and the left never has substantive arguments, they resort to their usual stand by: racism!

9

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