In an unusual move, the Likud expelled one of its members Tuesday, over his involvement in a Holocaust-themed ad campaign targeting Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett.
Moshe Ifergan, number 96 on the party's Knesset list in the coming elections, was expelled following a formal police complaint filed against the Likud over the ad.
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Ifergan's ad attacked the so-called "sectoral ghetto" allegedly promoted by Habayit Heyehudi's chairman in regards to the national-religious sector's social standing in Israel.
The ad depicts Bennett behind a wire fence – "the Jewish ghetto" as the creators called it – and a yellow Star of David in the center of his party's logo.
The ad (screenshot)
"It took 60 years for national-religious people to break free of the sectoral ghetto which imprisoned them inside the National Religious Party," the ad declared.
"Sixty years until we finally managed to find our place in the general public and escape the secluded ghetto former leaders kept us in. Now Naftali Bennett wants to see us back in the old party, 'the religious party'. Sorry, Naftali, but we prefer to be part of Israeli society."
"We have no words," a source within Habayit Hayehudi said, adding that the party was shocked by the campaign.
Bennett shared the photo on his Facebook page and wrote: "My brothers in the Likud, what's happened to you? I'm speechless."
The Likud denied any connection to the ad at first, but when an internal probe derived that Ifergan was, by his own admission, involved, his membership was immediately revoked.
"I am indeed on the Likud list. But they dismissed me because they don't want to be associated with the campaign and that's understandable. It makes sense. I did it of my own accord and the party has nothing to do with it," Ifergan told Ynet.
The Likud-Beiteinu campaign headquarters expressed its "Disgust at the shocking campaign," adding that "the Likud has decided to expel Moshe Ifergan because of the ad campaign in which Bennett is seen behind a wire fence and a hurtful use is made of the Holocaust's symbols."
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