Justice Eliezer Rivlin, head of the Central Elections Committee, ruled Tuesday against the airing of a Shas' campaign ad which features the ultra-Orthodox party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, blessing voters.
In the ad, Rabbi Yosef is saying that anyone who votes for Shas, "They, their sons, students and kin will all be blessed… with happiness and honor, good health and success."
Section 122 of Israel's Election Law forbids any party to solicit votes via the promise of a religious blessing. Justice Rivlin informed the party that unless the text is revised he will not authorize the ad's airing, prompting Shas to pull it altogether.
A similar campaign ad by Shas was also disqualified in 2006, by then-head of the Central Elections Committee, Justice Dorit Beinish.
Shas' current campaign already includes the distribution of amulets through its website – an alleged breach of election protocol.
Shas Chairman Eli Yishai criticized the ruling, saying that "the campaign laws have been trampled on. Some in Israel are interested in the target assassination of tradition and in preventing the people from being blessed in these hard times."
Ronen Medzini contributed to this report