Try again!

Seven times eight is how many?

Likud gets its multiplication tables wrong in TV ad, though perhaps the mystery (non-Israeli) teacher was correcting them

Seven times eight is how many? From the Likud-Beytenu's TV ad (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Seven times eight is how many? From the Likud-Beytenu's TV ad (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

Someone’s got their multiplication tables wrong in the Likud-Beytenu’s TV election commercials, first broadcast on Tuesday night.

Hailing a list of the Likud’s achievements in creating jobs, fencing off the borders, bringing free education to children aged three and up, and so on, the ad homes in on a still photo of a teacher standing at her chalkboard — do they still use those? — and looking over the four multiplication attempts it bears.

Two of the equations are just peachy. 5 x 3 is indeed 15, and 4 x 7 adds up to 28. But, no, 7 x 8 does not usually come out to 49, and neither does 6 x 3 make 20.

Which leaves us with the following conundrum: Is the Likud championing a teacher who can’t do her arithmetic? Unlikely, especially as she  seems, in the photo, to be about to mark the 7 x 8 effort as incorrect. So is it championing a teaching method which encourages students to call out which answers are right and which are wrong? More likely.

We guess that makes for a passable explanation, though it’s certainly not the way we learned our multiplication tables back in our day.

However, at the risk of complicating the equation a little further, we rather doubt that the photo shows an Israeli teacher in an Israeli classroom in the first place. The picture, a rudimentary Internet search establishes, is a stock photo from the international agency iStockphoto. It was probably picked out by the Likud’s advertising agency via its heading on the IStockphoto site: Teacher in school.

Further investigation, indeed, shows the photo to be one of a series offered for sale on the iStockphoto site, all “contributed” by one Robert Mandel. They show various teachers and pupils in front of the chalkboard, with variants on these equations and others. And if all the kids featured are Israeli, well, then 7 x 8 is 49!

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