The Central Elections Commission on Tuesday ordered Likud-Beytenu and several major newspapers to pay compensation to the Jewish Home party for an advertisement attacking party leader Naftali Bennett.
The ad, which first ran on Sunday in Haaretz, Maariv and Yisrael Hayom, features his image with the words “Bennett is irresponsible; he supports insubordination,” along with a quote from last week’s controversial television interview, in which Bennett said that “Conscientious objection is an intrinsic part of being a soldier.”
The ad originally ran anonymously, but it was later confirmed that it was funded by right-wing rival Likud-Beytenu. The commission determined that the anonymous nature of the ad was a violation of election laws and ordered Likud-Beytenu, Haaretz, Maariv and Yisrael Hayom to each pay NIS 1,000 to Jewish Home.
Bennett set off a political firestorm last Thursday when he said during a confrontational Channel 2 interview that, if while serving as an IDF reservist he was commanded to participate in the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, he would refuse to obey orders.
His remarks were widely disparaged by political and media figures across the spectrum. Bennett later retracted his statement, saying that he had not called for insubordination and that “a soldier must follow military orders.”
Elie Leshem contributed to this report.