Singers Sarit Haddad and David "Dudu" Fisher appeared at a Likud-Beiteinu campaign event. Efrat Gosh sang at the Labor Party’s economic forum, and Rona Kenan and Yehoshua Sobol took part in a Meretz event.
Now these performances are about to come before the Central Elections Commission chairman, Judge Elyakim Rubinstein, due to a dispute among the parties over the legality of these events.
At the heart of the dispute is section 8 of the Knesset Elections Law, which prohibits singers and other entertainers from appearing at campaign events. The law states that “there shall be no election propaganda accompanied by entertainment programs, including performances by singers and musicians, screening of films and the use of torch bearers.”
But do the two songs that Sarit Haddad sang for a fee constitute an appearance as defined by the law?
Yesh Atid has filed a complaint over Haddad’s appearance and consequently Rubinstein asked Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu to respond to the allegation that they broke the law. Both parties stated on Saturday that they had sought and obtained a legal opinion that permitted such a move.
Following the Yesh Atid complaint, Likud decided to file a similar complaint against voluntary performances by artists and signers at Labor and Meretz campaign events. This led the Labor party to note that Gosh actually did receive payment for her performance, contrary to its original boast that she had appeared as a volunteer.
“Unlike Likud-Beiteinu, which acted according to the law and paid for the performance, other parties invited artists to perform without payment, which is a criminal violation of the party funding law because it is a prohibited contribution,”said a senior Likud public relations official.
“An appearance by Efrat Gosh or other performers is worth more than NIS 15,000, which is the amount an individual is allowed to donate. Therefore it is a prohibited campaign contribution and the performance should have been paid for,” the official added.
In addition to Gosh’s performance for Labor, Likud-Beiteinu is considering filing a complaint against a performance by artists who are Meretz supporters that took place several weeks ago at Tel Aviv’s Levontin Club. Among the participants were program host Aviad Kisos, singer Rona Kenan, dancer Renana Raz and the Av Tipus band.
Meretz noted on Saturday that the event for several dozen people was held in a small club, and the artists who took part did so voluntarily. “Likud is jealous that they have to pay tens of thousands of shekels while on the left, artists are willing to volunteer for the sake of important issues,” Meretz said.
Labor party officials stated that “party campaign events are produced, unlike in the Likud, based on an understanding that public funds are involved and there is no overspending to promote the messages and the necessity of changing the government.
“Regarding Efrat Gosh’s performance, the first payment to Gosh’s band was transferred recently. Gosh has long been a vocal supporter of the Labor party and even expressed her support onstage during her concert at the conference to present the Labor party’s economic plan based on an ideological choice and her identification with the party and its values.
“Despite her desire to perform without payment, even before you contacted us it was discovered that there is no way the party can accept such a contribution, so it was decided that payment would be made for her performance. We deeply appreciated Efrat’s good will and her public support for our party,” the Labor officials said.