Facebook removed on Thursday an Ultra-Orthodox party's election campaign video that compared Reform and Conservative converts to Judaism to dogs, claiming it made an "anti-Semitic comparison."
The video, which stirred controversy on social media, was released by United Torah Judaism (UTJ) in response to a High Court of Justice ruling that recognizes those who have converted to Judaism through Reform or Conservative conversions in Israel as Jewish by the state and would allow them to acquire Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.
The video opens with a snippet from an old news story covering the "Bark Mitzvah" phenomenon, in which members of more liberal Jewish denominations hold bar mitzvah ceremonies for their pet animals, mainly dogs.
The video continues with a series of photos featuring dogs wearing Jewish skullcaps on their heads, some wrapped in a prayer shawl and tefillin, holding holy books, wearing a Star of David pendant or boasting curled sidelocks.
As the images are paraded on the screen, a narrator tells the viewers, “in the High Court of Justice, this is a Jew” while joking about one dog, “his grandmother was a rabbi, of course, he is Jewish!”
The video ends with the message that only the UTJ party “will protect your Judaism, that of your children, and your grandchildren”, followed by the campaign slogan: “First of all the Jews.”
UTJ called in response to end the "Bark Mitzvah" phenomenon.
"Facebook also realizes that the ugly phenomenon of bar mitzvah celebrations for dogs is harming the life of the community and that it has to end," a statement read.
The Haredi party also noted that the video can still be seen on the Yesh Atid party's Twitter feed, whose leader MK Yair Lapid slammed UTJ for hinted anti-Semitism.