Jerusalem - Shas Removes Second Controversial Election Ad
Jerusalem - Shas courted trouble with another one of its election ads on Thursday, after removing its controversial commercial casting aspersions on the state conversion process.
The family of an elderly woman appearing in Shas’ advertisements complained that the party misrepresented her as childless and alone, even though the family takes care of her.
In addition, the woman is not of sound mind, and her family says she does not remember agreeing to appear in the commercial nor having participated in its production.
Shas agreed to remove the parts of the ad featuring the woman.
Thursday, the third day of what is officially known as Election Propaganda Broadcasts, was the first day since they began on Tuesday in which Shas’s conversion ad was not aired, after the Central Election Committee received several complaints.
Shas’s campaign ad ridicules the state conversion system, and features a tall blonde woman named Marina, speaking Hebrew with a thick Russian accent, punctuated with phrases in Russian, who dials “star-conversion” on a fax machine while standing under a wedding canopy with her fiancé.
A return fax rolls in immediately with her conversion certificate.
Rubinstein said on Wednesday that “indeed there may be a sense of general injury” stemming from the ad, “which is preferable to avoid,” and noted that Shas had agreed to withdraw the commercial “for the sake of peace.”
Religious freedom NGO Hiddush petitioned the Central Election Committee on Thursday to stop Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef from giving sermons on Radio Kol Barama, saying it is a form of illegal electioneering.
The committee has yet to make a decision about Yosef’s radio broadcasts.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel wrote to Rubinstein on Thursday to protest his decision to censor parts of election campaign broadcasts, and plans to petition to the High Court of Justice to reverse his decisions to ban parts of Strong Israel’s and Balad’s ads.
The Central Election Committee chairman said that the sentence “there are no privileges without obligations, and without fulfilling obligations, you cannot demand privileges,” which is said in Arabic, must be removed from Strong Israel’s televised commercials. In addition, the words “no to an Arab state, no to a state of [African] infiltrators,” must be removed from the party’s radio ads.
The committee also banned an ad featuring a belly-dancing cartoon of Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman singing a Middle Eastern music-tinged version of Hatikvah, saying it “disgraces symbols of the country,” but it reconsidered its decision soon after and allowed the commercial to be broadcast on Wednesday.
“Freedom of expression includes the right to broadcast satire and provocative statements,” ACRI Chief Legal Counsel Dan Yakir explained. “This is especially important when it comes to election campaign broadcasts, which are intended to help citizens decide for whom to vote.”
According to Yakir, “when a Supreme Court Justice [Rubinstein] harms the freedom of expression without valid justification, it creates a dangerous precedent.
The party premiered a music video to its campaign theme song, “Shas For a Country With Soul,” by the party’s official singer Benny Elbaz, featuring co-leaders Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias and Aryeh Deri, as well as Yosef. The video showed Shas supporters making the A-OK sign with their fingers, which also spells out Shas in Hebrew.
In addition, Channel 10 News reported Thursday night that the party plans to release another music video for a song titled “He’s Back.” Elbaz sings the song to the tune of his hit “He’s Innocent,” a popular protest song about Deri’s incarceration.
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post
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