The launching of Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria’s election campaign for mayor of Jerusalem, which was planned for Monday morning, acknowledged some difficulties after a group of Haredim ripped off her campaign ads with her picture on the side of a bus at the conclusion of the fast of 9th of Av, Kipa reported Monday.
One of the common modern themes of the 9th of Av in Israel has been the notion that the second temple was destroyed because of pointless hate, which is why we will merit our redemption through altruistic love.
Azaria’s campaign workers hung the billboards on 300 buses around the capital with the slogan “Believe it, it’s possible to live together.” But a number of Haredim did not float with the message, to say the least. The ads feature members of radically different groups sharing a ride on the same bus: an IDF soldier and an Arab; a Chabad Hasid and a female student from the Bezalel academy of art; a Beitar Jerusalem FC fan (rightwing) and a Hapoel Katamon fan (lefwing).
Azaria, for her part, argued that she had been receiving calls from her Haredi supporters who were “shocked by the act and expressed their disgust.”
“The violent attempt to harm the election campaign does not reflect on Jerusalem, the Jerusalemites, or the Haredi public,” she said. “On the contrary, this is an extreme, marginal group. In Jerusalem we know how to live together in mutual respect, even if it is not always easy. The extremists cannot decide for us. On the night after the 9th of Av, I say to the vandals: the ads are easy to paste anew, the consequences of free hatred are much harder to deal with. But we’ll do it. The vast majority of Jerusalemites are turning away from you. Secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox alike.”