Has the Likud's
campaign against Habayit Hayehudi
and its chairman, Naftali Bennett,
gone too far? Some in the party seem to think so.
Ynet learned Friday that many in the ruling party's religious camp are outraged by the escalating mudslinging by both parties.
Chairman of the Likud faction MK Zeev Elkin
has gone as far as saying that if the party continues to blatantly target Habayit Hayehudi's rabbis, he would disband the elections headquarters.
Elkin said that "if national-religious campaign persists along these lines it would be of no use to the Likud." Various Likud MKs, including MK Tzipi Hotovely,
also expressed anger at the political tactics used in the campaign, meant to stem Likud voters who are unhappy with the joint Likud-Beiteinu ticket from transferring their support to Habayit Hayehudi.
Elkin is said to be furious that some of the ads target some of the sector's most prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Dov Lior.
"Zeev is frustrated and angry," a Likud member close to the faction chairman, said. "This (campaign) targets rabbis he respects and he won't sign off on it. He sent a very clear message to that effect to the campaign's management and even cancelled three events planned for hesder yeshivot."
Anti Bennett ad
A group of Likud activists dubbed "the national HQ" – which represents one of the settlers' power-bases in the party – has also expressed its rage over the campaign's themes.
In an unusually strong-worded statement, the group said that "The Likud campaign has decided to blatantly offend some of the great rabbis of Israel and many of the party's members.
"A large number of the Likud members and potential voters are religious. The attempt to depict the national-religious sector as socially backward undermines the Likud. Enough. Don't target the national-religious camp, which is a part of the Likud's core fabric.
"Unfortunately, the Likud campaign is following a dismissive, derogatory path that is beneath the party and has already cost it many voters," the statement said.
Elkin's office said that "MK Elkin continues to serve as head of the Likud's national-religious campaign. We don't think commenting on media spins is worth it. Elkin is not in the habit of sharing his discussions with the prime minister with the public."
Meanwhile, Ynet learned Friday that someone has been trying to hack Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett's cell phone.
According to the party's campaign headquarters, an unknown individual sent a text message containing spyware to Bennett, which was intercepted by the device's malware protection program.
The spyware was meant to allow the sender to duplicate the phone, thus enabling him to tap all calls, read text messages and access the various information stored on the device.
Akiva Novick is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent
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