Election panel censures Likud-Beytenu over pop singer’s performance

Committee finds song by Sarit Hadad hailing Netanyahu as ‘the bomb’ at event broke campaign rules

The Likud-Yisrael Beytenu joint Knesset list broke the law by having pop-singer Sarit Hadad perform a hagiographic song for Netanyahu at a campaign event, the Central Elections Commission found Friday.

Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, who heads the committee, found that the performance broke a rule against using creative performances for publicity purposes. Rubinstein said he will pass on the case to the attorney general, who can levy a fine or even jail time.

In December, Hadad, a popular Mizrahi singer, played a song at a campaign event hailing Netanyahu as “the bomb” and saying there is no one like him.

After the performance, for which Hadad reportedly received NIS 80,000 (more than $20,000) for two songs, the Yesh Atid party and a private individual raised complaints to the elections panel, saying the concert broke propaganda rules.

Likud-Beytenu countered the complaint, saying the event was a private affair and should not fall under campaign rules.

But Rubinstein said that whether or not the party was billed as a campaign event, it acted like one. “Events whose dominant effect is influencing the elections, and which don’t have any other dominant effect, are campaign publicity,” he ruled.

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