The Central Election Committee has granted a petition filed by the Likud-Beitenu on Thursday to ban Habayit Hayehudi's billboard ads, which feature the latter party's chairman, Naftali Bennett, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu side by side.
Central Election Committee Chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein accepted the Likud-Beiteinu's position that the campaign is misleading, saying that the posters in question create the false impression that the two party leaders are running together or have reached some kind of an agreement.
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On Tuesday, the religious Habayit Hayehudi party chose Netanyahu to be the new star of their election campaign, releasing posters featuring the prime minister alongside Bennett under the slogan: "Strong together." The only problem? The move was unbeknownst to the prime minister.
'Stronger Together; Vote Bennett'
In response, the Likud filed a petition, claiming that the campaign's goal was to sway potential Likud voters to choose Habayit Hayehudi instead.
The petition stated: "The point of these billboard ads is to steal the hearts of right-wing voters, to mislead them and to instill in their consciousness a manipulative and false message.
"As if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is turning to potential right-wing voters and telling them: Don’t vote for me, I have enough votes and our victory is secured."
The Likud attacked an additional Habayit Hayehudi campaign ad which insinuated the existence of a coalition deal between Netanyahu and Bennett promising the latter and his party membership in the future government.
According to the petition, this ad is also misleading, since such an "agreement or deal never existed."
Have no fear
According to the Habayit Hayehudi, the campaign was meant to clarify to potential voters that the party plans on working with Netanyahu.
However, there seems to be another reason: A review conducted by the party indicates there are at least five Knesset seats that the party could still grab from the Likud in Tuesday's elections.
The Election Committee agreed to issue the ban on Friday, only a day after the petition was filed, in order to make sure there is enough time to take down the signs before Shabbat and prevent the ads being printed in the weekend newspapers.
Habayit Hayehudi responded to the petition saying: "After the election, we will be stronger together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… there is no need to fear."
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