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Supreme Court President Judge Asher Gru Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Supreme Court President Judge Asher Gru Photo: Alex Kolomoisky


Court okays Balad, Otzma LeYisrael ads

High Court overturns Central Election Committee's decision to disqualify Balad campaign, censor Otzma LeYisrael ads

Aviel Magnezi
Published: 01.15.13, 20:10 / Israel News

The Supreme Court overturned a ruling by the Central Election Committee disqualifying Balad's election ad and censoring parts of Otzma LeYisrael's campaign on Tuesday.


The ruling was made by Supreme Court President Judge Asher Grunis and the honorable Miriam Naor, Edna Arbel, Salim Joubran and Esther Hayut.


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Central Election Committee Chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein rendered the two rulings regarding the ads on Monday.


According to Rubinstein, Balad's use of a distorted instrumental version of Israel's national anthem "ridicules and debases the national anthem and should therefore be disqualified."


As for the Otzma LeYisrael campaign, Rubinstein ruled that part of its campaign "carry racist or anti-Arab messages… and are therefore offensive to the Arab public."


Each of the parties filed a court appeal over the decision, as did the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. The latter claimed that that: "This is the time for the parties to detail their agendas and perceptions for the public.


"None of the ads that were disqualified crossed any red lines."


Justice Grunis wrote in his ruling that "the current election's campaigns adhere to the vast changes in the world of media. Radio and television are just parts of the arena now and the Internet and social media have become a big part of the campaign.


"This situation, in which massages can be relayed to the public in ways unforeseen by the legislator mandate an adaptation on the law's part, in keeping with the times."


According to Grunis, "It is hard to say that both (parties) failed to meet the law's requirements in a manner which justifies having their ads disqualified… And while both may make the viewers uncomfortable, it does not warrant their disqualification."



Also on Tuesday, the Central Election Committee disqualified a part of an election ad by the Economy Party, in which a woman is seen sucking on a popsicle.


Rubinstein decided that: "Part of the ad is vulgar and in bad taste, as well running the risk of hurting the public's feelings."


The party's pervious campaign, depicting a woman taking her clothes off to illustrate its campaign slogan – "the government is stripping us bare" – was also harshly criticized as degrading to women.



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