Election Broadcasts / Schmaltz, Chutzpah and Punch

Two men are playing chess. The setting is cultural and relaxed. Not a drop of sweat. That's how Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu chose to present himself last night in his party's first TV campaign ad, alongside his father, the historian, who said in 1998, "It's likely he was more suited to being foreign minister than head of state."Prof. Benzion Netanyahu has almost certainly changed his mind about his son, for the better.

But the Likud took a risk last night. Did the Likud publicists rely on the short memory of the public, or had they forgotten themselves? And the Likud chairman, has he forgotten?

In any case, the Likud returned last night, big time, to its element: intimidation.

Between 1996 and 2003, the Likud ads focused their attention on Yasser Arafat. Now that the late Palestinian leader is no longer with us, Hamas has been called in. The fire, the smoke, the marches, the drums: the Likud at its finest.

Kadima, meanwhile, highlighted its leader and some of the top party members. The Labor Party aired serious and direct ads that were not embarrassed to highlight the social agenda, and that presented some of the top party members and the Labor chairman.