Jewish Home draws fire over anti-assimilation poster in Jewish-Arab city Ramle

MK Neven Abu Rahmoun to ask attorney general to ban campaign advertisement warning Jews that ‘your daughter could be next’ to marry a Muslim

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Arab Israeli Christian schoolchildren play soccer at the Terra Sancta School in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Ramle, May 26, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Arab Israeli Christian schoolchildren play soccer at the Terra Sancta School in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Ramle, May 26, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)

A municipal election poster campaign poster by the national-religious Jewish Home party drew condemnation from an Arab member of Knesset on Tuesday over its pledge to counter interfaith assimilation between Jews and Arabs.

The advertisements in the mixed Jewish-Arab central city of Ramle featured a young woman in a black hijab — a traditional Muslim head-covering — against a background of two white candles and a wine cup, items traditionally used to mark the start of the Jewish Shabbat.

“Hundreds of cases of assimilation in Ramle, and no one cares,” the posters declared. “Tomorrow it could be your daughter. Only a strong Jewish Home will maintain a Jewish Ramle.”

It was the latest in a series of controversial campaign ploys by various parties running in nationwide municipal elections on October 30.

The issue also grabbed headlines recently following the wedding of well-known Arab Israeli news anchor Lucy Aharish and Jewish actor Tsahi Halevi, star of international TV hit “Fauda.”

Opposition MK Neven Abu Rahmoun of the Joint (Arab) List faction said she will ask the attorney general to ban the Jewish Home posters in the city of Ramle, where some 20% of the population is Arab.

“It seems that for certain parties, incitement is the only tool for persuasion,” Rahmoun tweeted. “The local election period is contaminated with that same incitement that the government encourages, and to my great regret, it is not surprising.”

The lawmaker pointed to a Likud party municipal campaign in the Tel Aviv area which targeted Arabs, leftists, and African asylum seekers and was condemned by rights groups as well as Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.

The Jewish Home, she wrote, “is using racist messages, incitement, and fear to advance itself in the Ramle municipal elections, a city in which more than 20% of the residents are Arabs.”

Tag Meir, an anti-racism activism group, issued a statement condemning the posters and asked “How would we respond to a notice against Jews which was published in Poland or Hungary?”

Also last week, a candidate for the Ashdod municipal council released a campaign video that imagines what would happen if secular residents do not vote and ultra-Orthodox Jews take over the city. Eli Nacht insisted that the video was intended merely as satire, but others accused him of incitement against the city’s ultra-Orthodox community.

In August, the Jerusalem branch of the Jewish Home party was widely criticized after campaign posters appeared in the capital warning of ultra-Orthodox influence in city hall by photoshopping Haredi garb on three mayoral candidates.

Among those to condemn the posters as anti-ultra-Orthodox was the main office of the Jewish Home party, which is led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, an Orthodox Jew.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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