The Likud-Beytenu party on Wednesday requested of the Central Elections Commission to shut down the Likudnik website, saying that it publishes messages that may deceive the public into believing its ads are on behalf of or sponsored by the Likud party.
The site bills itself as the “Likud Supporters’ Street Campaign.”
Last week, Likud announced it would expel party member Moshe Ifergan for publishing an ad laden with Holocaust imagery that attacked Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett, after he refused a request to remove it from a website.
Ifergan is on the Likud’s slate — albeit in the utterly unrealistic 96th place — for the upcoming national elections. Because he is on the list, he can only be formally removed after the results of the January 22 elections are known.
“We believe the issue will be investigated and the real motives behind Ifergan’s move will be exposed to the public,” Likud said in a statement that announced his impending expulsion.
Though Likud is bitterly battling Bennett’s Jewish Home party, which is seen as siphoning votes from Likud’s right flank, it strongly condemned the ad.
The ad called on religious voters to vote for Likud and influence policy from within the ruling party, rather than opt for the far-right Jewish Home and thus weaken Likud’s Knesset presence. It featured a grainy black-and-white picture of Bennett behind barbed wire next to the words “60 years!” and a modified Jewish Home logo with yellow star graphic that read “Jewish ghetto.”
“It took 60 years for the knitted skullcaps” — a reference to religious Zionists — “to free themselves from the sectarian ghetto of the National Religious Party. Sixty years until we finally succeeded in becoming integrated into the Israeli public and freeing ourselves from the isolated ghetto in which our past leaders imprisoned us,” read the ad.
The National Religious Party was a previous incarnation of the Jewish Home party.
Likud MK Ofir Akunis said the ad was a disgrace and should be banned, and that his party had nothing to do with it.
Aaron Kalman and Gabe Fisher contributed to this report.