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Likud ad slammed for linking Israeli workers to Hamas

Party apologizes, removes video intended to highlight Netanyahu government’s achievements, following backlash

Controversial advertisement of post-Netanyahu support group that was quickly pulled by the Likud party. (photo credit: screenshot/Likud)
Controversial advertisement of post-Netanyahu support group that was quickly pulled by the Likud party. (photo credit: screenshot/Likud)

A Likud election advertisement portraying various Israeli workers and a Hamas member complaining during an anti-Netanyahu support group was hammered by critics Thursday, leading the party to apologize and say it would withdraw the clip.

Still, the video ran during the evening’s allotted time for broadcasting campaigns ads, and was still available online.

The tongue-in-cheek ad shows an Alcoholics-Anonymous-style support circle featuring persons depicting a cell-phone company executive, a port worker, an Israel Broadcasting Authority tax collector and a Hamas terrorist voicing their contempt for the Netanyahu government’s economic reforms and his policy toward the Palestinian terror group during his previous term.

The “port-worker” — head of a fictitious “tea department” — said he used to work three hours a week for a monthly salary of NIS 50,000-60,000 before bonuses. “Until the reform [of the port authority] came along. All of a sudden we had to actually start working, to serve the public. It’s awful!” he says.

The woman portraying the worker at the IBA’s tax collection department asked who she will levy taxes from now that the government decided to terminate television and broadcasting fees starting in late 2015.

The “cell-phone company executive” lamented that he had to sell his exotic pet tiger that had become unaffordable given that he was no longer able to swindle ordinary Israelis with exorbitantly high cell-phone fees.

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A “Hamas member” from Gaza dressed in full terrorist attire speaking in very bad Arabic-accented Hebrew said that he too joined the support group “because of Bibi,” using the prime minister’s nickname. He was there presumably to complain about the state of the terror organization following the summer’s war with Israel in which the group suffered significant setbacks, according to the government.

At the end of the advertisement, Netanyahu appeared before the group and vowed to continue pushing through reforms and deal with ongoing security challenges head on.

Following an overwhelmingly negative backlash by members of the public and political opponents, a Likud spokesperson said the video would no longer be aired.

“The video was produced in jest for [the Jewish holiday of] Purim. The video will no longer be aired. We apologize if anybody was offended,” a Likud statement read.

IBA workers took to Twitter to protest the ad by publishing posts that read “Prime Minister Netanyahu, I am not Hamas,” and signing off with their job description and positions.

Histadrut Labor federation head Avi Nissenkorn said the video crossed a “red line” for comparing workers to Hamas murderers and called on Netanyahu to issue a personal apology.

Political rivals also took the opportunity to take a swipe at the Likud head with Meretz’s Zahava Gal-on claiming that Israelis won’t buy into Netanyahu’s “fabricated achievements.”

“[I] must really tip my hat before the prime minister for this one. He has reached a new low with this video,” Gal-on said on Facebook.

“The name of the Hamas member in the ad is [Mustafa] ‘Abu-Lottie’ or Abu-gay [in Arabic]. Because to add to the bad taste, why not also use homophobic insults along the way?” she asked.

The Zionist Union’s Shelly Yachimovich on Facebook called the video “unforgivable” for featuring “vile incitement” against everyday workers.

“The irresponsibility shown by the serving prime minister towards [the country’s] citizens is what’s terrible [here]. There is so much to repair and heal after Bibi. The fact that such hateful writing could come from the Likud [party] is a disgrace,” Yachimovich said.

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