When I got to the Motzash section of the Makor Rishon newspaper this Shabbat, it took me a second to realize that I wasn’t looking at the front page of their magazine, but at a full-page election ad for the Blue & White party.
I’ll admit, it also took me a few more seconds to catch their play on words, and realize that Blue&White just went full blown antisemitic in their election campaign.
Unfortunately, we’ve all gotten used to Liberman’s rants against the Chareidim and Meshichistim (which is what he calls us religious people he doesn’t like) that we’ve learned to just ignore him.
We’re certainly used to Lapid talking about his four fathers (Moe, Larry, Tommy and Curly) and other ignorant remarks on religion, religious Jews and settlers, but I certainly wasn’t expecting a full blown attack on religious Jews as part of Blue & White’s official election campaign.
למה יאיר לפיד החליט שלבנג’מין ד’יזראלי היו ארבעה אבות? מסתבר שזו טעות נגררת כבר 14 שנה #מהצד_השני עם @yoavr pic.twitter.com/HDR2JksCzk
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) January 15, 2020
The Blue & White election ad shows a mustard-yellow stained Israeli flag with the phrase, “כל כך הרבה חרדל שכבר אין לזה טעם”
At first glance it translates as, “There’s so much mustard, there’s no longer any taste.”
Chardal is Hebrew for mustard. Chardal is also the nickname for the Chareidi-Dati-Leumi community. National-Religious (knitted-kipa wearing) Jews who are more focused on religious issues and Torah learning.
And then you read it as they meant it, “There’s so many strongly committed religious Jews, that there’s no longer any point.”
We are talking about knitted kipa wearing Jews who serve in the army, who do miluim, who pay taxes, who might even be the person sitting next to you in shul… but live their lives more focused around Torah learning and take their religious lives very seriously.
Is that what Blue & White has come to? There are too many strictly religious Jews, and they are making Israel and its flag dirty?!
Amazingly, at the bottom of the ad, it says it was made by the “Srugim” faction of Blue&White. Which means someone there thinks that “religious-lite” Jews hate the “serious” religious Jews.
Blue&White could have attacked political figures like Bezalel Smotrich or Rafi Peretz — but they didn’t.
Blue&White could have focused on “religion and state” issues, of which there are serious questions to discuss — but they didn’t.
Instead, Blue&White chose to attack an entire sector. Much like Hillary calling Trump voters “deplorables” or the defunct Labor party calling Likud voters “chachchachim” (Sephardi riff-raff).
Too many dedicated religious Jews that are dirtying up Israel – that message is simply antisemitic.
I know that here at the Muqata we have some readers who plan to vote Blue & White.
That’s your prerogative, but at the moment we’re not really interested in your explanation as to why, or your attacks against us because of what we’ve pointed out — because this ad is not about election issues.
I think it behooves you to ask your party’s representatives: Why are they attacking dedicated, religious Jews, saying there are too many of us, and we are dirtying Israel and dirtying Israel’s flag?
Because that’s just plain old antisemitism, and if you think about it for a second you’ll realize they’re attacking you too.
Update (Feb 2, 2020): The brainchild behind this hate campaign was apparently MK Elazar Stern, who posted a rant earlier on Sunday on all the issues of religion and state that bother him from people who think differently from him. In a sign of immaturity, he threw the word Chardal into every sentence.
But within the Blue&White party, their internal assessment was that Stern’s hate campaign damaged them among religious voters, who aren’t hate-filled, angry and intolerant, so they cancelled the Chardal campaign completely.