Israeli political party ads debut


Israeli political parties will debut their television advertisements tonight in an hour-long slug-fest .

Tonight begins my favorite part of the campaign season, the start of the parties’ television advertisements. The ads are shown nightly on Israel’s major television station, for a full hour (a different hour on each station so you can avoid them altogether or watch them over and over again), with each party being allotted a certain number of minutes based on the number of lawmakers it has in the current Knesset.

  • The Jerusalem Post reports that negative ads will dominate on the first night, led by Kadima Party ads attacking Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • The Ale Yarok Party, which is now the Holocaust Survivor’s and Grown Up Green Leaf Party after an unusual merger between the party fighting for legalizing marijuana and a group representing Holocaust survivors, is scheduled to roll out its television and radio ads at a news conference Tuesday. To read more about its wide-ranging platform including legalizing medical marijuana, helping Holocaust survivors financially, promoting free education and environmental regulation, visit its Web site in English
  • If you want to see what the party billboards springing up throughout the country look like, check out this special feature on the Jerusalem Post Web site; the ad slogans are all translated into English. 
  • The New York Times seems to agree that Israel’s political right benefited most from the military offensive in Gaza, even though they were not involved in planning or carrying out the war: "That is not because Israelis have regrets or have become faint-hearted about the casualties and destruction in Gaza. To the contrary, there appears to have been a shift further to the right, reflecting a feeling among many voters that an even tougher approach may now be required."
  • Meanwhile, Bibi warns his party not to get overconfident with two weeks until the elections, the Jerusalem Post reports from a campaign event with religious Zionist supporters Monday night, amid reports that he has decided to form a government with Labor and leave Kadima out in the cold.
  • The Shas party said Tuesday at an event launching its campaign that it will endorse Netanyahu for prime minister, and will watch to "ensure Netanyahu doesn’t repeat his mistakes," Ynet reported.
  • Ynet also reported that Netanyahu and Effie Eitam, head of the Religious Zionist Party Achi, have signed an internal memorandum forging a partnership: "According to the new deal, the Likud has pledged to prevent any further withdrawals, and push for a permanent, viable living solution for the Gush Katif evacuees. The party also promised to regulate the religious services provided in Israel, to keep Jerusalem united and under Israeli sovereignty and to increase the capital’s Jewish majority."
  • Kadima kicked off its campaign in Sderot Monday night with a threat to assassinate Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders, Haaretz reports.
  • Haaretz also reports on Labor Party leader Ehud Barak’s attempts to ‘Putinize’ his image in order to attract the large Russian immigrant vote.
  • Meanwhile, as Israel’s major dailies report that police believe they have a strong case against Yisrael Beitanu head Avigdor Lieberman for alleged money laundering and accepting bribes, Ynet reports that it has obtained an internal document from the left-wing Meretz Party that encourages its members to compare Lieberman to extreme rightist leaders such as Australia’s late Jorg Haider: "Meretz views Lieberman’s rise in popularity as similar to that of other nationalistic movement leaders such as Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, Haider in Austria, and Zhirinovsky in Russia," the memo said.
  • The Jewish-Arab Hadash Party’s campaign declares that it is the opposite of Lieberman, Ynet reports. It’s new campaign slogan states: "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies. Hadash – the opposite of Lieberman." 
  • Finally, a Jerusalem Post analysis by Prof. Shmuel Sandler discusses how the election played into the military operation in Gaza: "Paradoxically, it seems that the elections played a significant role in engendering stability in Israeli domestic politics throughout the war, on the leadership, diplomatic and media levels.

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