The Jerusalem municipal campaign of Habayit Hayehudi, headed by city councilwoman Hagit Moshe, came out swinging Monday morning with a new campaign ad that, had it been published by, say, the Palestinian Authority, would have been dubbed anti-Semitic. The ad shows mayoral candidates Ze’ev Elkin, Moshe Leon and Ofer Berkowitz as Haredim in hats and sidelocks.
The nightmarish ad represents a new turn in campaign of the Habayit Hayehudi in Jerusalem, which warns against the possible surrender of the candidates in the ad to Haredi pressure, once one of them becomes mayor. The Habayit Hayehudi campaign explained that it is in the highest interest of Jerusalem residents, among them many Religious Zionists, that Jerusalem not become another Bnei Brak.
Perhaps aware that the tone and content of their ad is disturbingly reminiscent of secular, anti-religious campaigns plaguing Israel these days, the Habayit Hayehudi campaign issued a statement saying, “We have nothing against the Haredim, but the reality of life proves that making Jerusalem more and more Haredi pushes away the Religious Zionist and secular public. Our sages noted that Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes precisely because of the fear that the capital of Israel would become the property of one tribe only.”
The campaign stressed that their concerns are not about who would be the next mayor of Jerusalem, but about the composition of the next coalition. Hagit Moshe said she believes that no matter who would be the next mayor, Elkin, Leon, or Berkowitz, they must not be abandoned to face the Haredim alone.
“The stronger and bigger a factor in the coalition Religious Zionism is, the more we can ensure that Jerusalem is the capital of all Israeli society and not of a narrow sector,” Moshe said.
MK Bezalel Smotrich of the National Union faction inside Habayit Hayehudi on Monday morning announced his opposition to the campaign and his disgust with the ad.
“The painful and shameful campaign that was published this morning on our behalf in the municipal elections in Jerusalem was done without our consent, and we completely renounce it and demand it be shelved,” Smotrich stated, adding that he wishes to apologize personally to those who were hurt. “We will investigate and make sure that, with God’s help, such serious mistakes not be repeated.”