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Israeli Candidates Use Radio, Tv As Campaign Heads into Final Weeks

With slick images and catchy jingles, Israel’s May 17 election campaign has shifted into high gear, as political advertisements began airing on Israeli radio and television stations.

Starting Monday and continuing for the next three weeks until May 16, the 33 parties vying in the Knesset elections will run political ads during the 11.5 hours of television broadcast time allotted for the campaign.

Twenty-six hours have been allocated for campaign ads on the radio.

The main contenders in the race for prime minister are not expected to pull any punches in the coming weeks.

The Likud Party is expected to portray Labor leader Ehud Barak as a front for left-wing interests who will “crumble” under pressure.

The Labor Party will portray the country as having been “stuck” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and will warn of the consequences if he is re- elected.

The Center Party, headed by Yitzhak Mordechai, prepared an ad showing two dice with the faces of Barak and Netanyahu being thrown, while an announcer asks, “What would happen if you lose this bet?”

As a result of a lottery involving the two largest parties, Likud and Labor, the election commission concluded that Likud would open the television broadcasts and Labor would close them on the first night.

The order will be reversed on May 16, the eve of the elections.

Each party was allotted 10 minutes of broadcast time, while parties received an additional three minutes for every legislator serving in the outgoing Parliament.

As a result, the “Israel One” list — which includes the Labor and Gesher parties, as well as Meimad, the moderate Orthodox movement — was given 106 minutes for the entire period, while Likud received 67 minutes.

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