Chairman of the Bayit Yehudi party, Minister Naftali Bennet, has ordered the immediate halting of the party’s Jerusalem mayoral campaign, which even after being revised, is still premised on being anti-chareidi. Bennet was outspoken in his harsh criticism of the campaign, which was approved by Chagit Moshe, who heads the party’s Jerusalem list.
The new campaign has removed the shameful photo associated with the original campaign, which came under fire. The new campaign advertisement was unveiled on Tuesday, 26 Menachem Av, ostensibly published by the local Jerusalem branch of the party, which sparked a new storm. Contrary to various reports, the team of advisors who initiated the initial campaign against the chareidim continues to work with the Jerusalem branch.
The new campaign poster still reads, “Only Bayit Yehudi can save Jerusalem from chareidi influence”, showing the three mayoral candidates; Moshe Leon, Ofir Berkowitz and Ze’ev Elkin.
This new poster, despite its lack of simulation of the candidates as chareidim, led Bennet to order the postponement of Moshe’s campaign until further notice. “In light of the conduct of the Jerusalem campaign for the municipal elections,” the minister’s office said, “the chairman of Bayit Yehudi, Naftali Bennett, instructed the party’s director-general to immediately stop the campaign in the city until the matter is clarified.”
“The current campaign was carried out by independent consultants acting on their own initiative, and the leadership of the party is not behind it. The campaign in Jerusalem will be renewed after the procedures and methods of handling the matter are clarified.”
The relationship between Bayit Yehudi and the chareidi parties in Knesset has been touch and go, stormy at times, and Bennet has worked hard to improve relations after being ostracized by the chareidim for teaming up with the Yesh Atid party in the previous administration. Clearly, the Jerusalem campaign would set the party back significantly in relations with the chareidi tzibur at large. Even when a new campaign is revealed, it is now clear to all how Moshe feels about chareidim, as this resounding message has already been heard by all.
The original campaign, which showed the three leading candidates for mayor in a photo with chareidi hats and peyos photoshopped on them, drew angry responses from elected and public officials alike. It compelled Bennet to respond as well, distancing himself from the campaign, which he insisted was created with consulting with him, leading to the announced firing of the campaign strategist, Yehoshua Mor-Yosef.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)