Netanyahu Stars as Kindergarten Cop in Campaign Ad

Ad features children under the age of 15 – a violation of Israel's election law. Likud: 'Video uploaded in error.'

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Netanyahu in the ad. Screenshot
Netanyahu in the ad. Screenshot
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t pulling any punches this election: On Saturday he released a campaign video portraying political foes Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid as unruly kindergarten children with Netanyahu the responsible adult.

A Likud spokesman said the video had reached the web due to a technical error; the party’s PR department had not yet cleared it.

The prime minister doesn’t cavil at bashing rivals on the right either. Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett are lampooned in the piece as well, with Lieberman called by his nickname Yvet and Bennett noted for being a “brother” – referring to his good ties with Lapid before the 2013 election.

Isaac Herzog, whose Labor Party has formed the Zionist Camp electoral alliance with Livni’s Hatnuah, doesn’t appear in the video.

The clip ends with Netanyahu saying: “There’s no time to waste. We can’t go on with a kindergarten like this.”

The video, however, might violate Israel’s election law, which prohibits the use of children under 15 in campaign spots. Still, a Likud spokesman said the children’s parents had given their consent.

Yariv Oppenheimer, the head of Peace Now, said he would ask the Central Elections Committee to have the video taken down.

Update: On January 20, the Central Elections Committee prohibited the broadcast of the video. The video is no longer available for watching on Haaretz.com.

Bennett, Kahlon shoot back

Netanyahu's ridiculed rivals shot back on Sunday. Bennett, who was portrayed as a child playing with a toy tank, said that "at least this kid won't let rockets be fired on Ben-Gurion Airport." In an interview with Army Radio, the Habayit Hayehudi leader said: "We all know who, during Operation Protective Edge, presented the plan to destroy the tunnels and who blocked it for three weeks."

Kulanu's Moshe Kahlon wondered on his Facebook page, "I don't know where Bibi found a public kindergarten with less than 35 kids."

Netanyahu also released a clip Saturday showing Herzog and Livni arguing over who would pick up the phone when the U.S. president called. They panic when Barack Obama phones, each telling the other to pick it up.

“We’re in rotation,” Herzog says. “That’s true,” Livni replies, “but today you have to answer.”

They continue arguing and nobody answers. The video ends with the caption: “At the moment of truth: Netanyahu.”

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