Eli Nacht, a candidate for the Ashdod municipal council, released a campaign video Monday that imagines what would happen if secular residents do not vote and ultra-Orthodox Jews take over the city.
The Hebrew-language video (with a few words of Russian thrown in) was shared by Nacht on his Facebook page. It is presented as a dream taking place the day after the elections.
A non-religious man awakens to find his wife preparing breakfast while an ultra-Orthodox man sits learning from a book in his kitchen. The man tells him he will remain there for a month in order to turn 12 secular people religious, but if he fails in that task he will have to stay for a year.
Then the couple’s son enters, dressed in ultra-Orthodox garb, and tells his father that it is the new school uniform.
When the power goes out, the electricity company explains over the phone that it happened because the family did not kiss the mezuzah as they entered the house.
The ultra-Orthodox man seated at the kitchen table then recounts to the father a list of the times his son has sinned by masturbating. He also recommends an app to find the boy a wife, but explains that because he has not learned enough Torah, his choices will be limited.
When the father goes shopping, his phone tells him that all the supermarkets that stock non-kosher food have been closed, and the remaining stores have separate hours for men and women.
Upon returning home he discovers that the television won’t show the soccer match and his phone no longer works because Shabbat has begun.
He shows his wife the sheets he bought at the store, which have a small hole in them, a reference to the myth that religious couples may only have marital relations through such a hole.
The video ends with Nacht speaking to the camera, saying that unless secular people come out to vote on election day, the future of the city will be decided by “someone else.”
Nacht insisted that the video was intended merely as satire, but others accused him of incitement against the city’s ultra-Orthodox community.
“The film caused a huge storm among the ultra-Orthodox community, which already feels that it is being singled out and targeted due to its plan to close a shopping center on Shabbat,” local journalist Shai Malul told Hadashot TV news. “The election campaigns are already heated and this film has just added fuel to the fire and brought it to the boil. The ultra-Orthodox feel he is inciting against them.”
“Nobody is trying to turn the city into Bnei Brak or Beit Shemesh,” said Shneur Elmaliach, a local ultra-Orthodox activist. “The video is explicitly inciting against the ultra-Orthodox community.
“Imagine if I would make a film about Russians, showing them as pigs who want to take control of Ashdod,” he continued. “There would have been a holy riot in the city, they would have attacked me — and rightly so.”