The Central Election Committee ordered Habayit Hayehudi
to pay a NIS 4,000 (roughly $1,000) fine Wednesday, over its illegal use of images of IDF
soldiers in its election campaign.
Committee Chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein made his ruling following a petition by the Labor Party,
over an ad depicting IDF soldiers, from the back, under the slogan: "We love the State – We serve the state."
"When asked to review whether the ads violate any of the restrictions placed on election campaign…
I found it to be so. The ad in question clearly depicts soliders and features the party's logo and voting symbol," Rubinstein wrote in his decision.
"The party took things a step further and added a kippa and a tzitzit to one of the soldiers, in an apparent attempt to draw attention to the fact that its constituents serve in the IDF and contribute to society.
"The Legislator, however, sought to keep the military free of any political labels," the ruling said.
The Committee noted that since Habayit Hayehudi assured it that the ads will no longer be in use, there was no point in issuing an injunction against the party.
Former Peace Now chairman and Labor candidate Yariv Oppenheimer,
who filed the petition against the religious party, said: "I think it's very serious, how Naftali Bennett is trying to exert possession over the IDF. I welcome the decision and hope no one makes use of the IDF in the election campaign."
Habayit Hayehudi issued a statement following the ruling, saying that "The party respected the Central Election Committee's ruling. We appreciate Peace Now's contribution, on top of our ads, which embrace our troops.
"Oppenheimer's propaganda has built many Jewish homes in Israel. Now he can help build Habayit Hayehudi," said the statement, playing of the meaning of the party's name.
"If everything goes right," the statement concluded,"(Oppenheimer) will end up voting for us, as well."
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