Attorney General: Netanyahu's Party Should Stop 'Piggybacking' on COVID Vaccination Slogan

By using the Health Ministry's 'Back to Life' slogan in its election campaign, Likud is 'improperly using public assets,' and could harm the vaccination drive, Mendelblit tells Israel's election panel

Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel
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A Likud campaign poster in Tel Aviv, last week. The Hebrew reads 'Back to Life.'
A Likud campaign poster in Tel Aviv, last week. The Hebrew reads 'Back to Life.'Credit: Hadas Parush
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party should be barred from using the slogan "Back to Life," which is also being used by the Health Ministry in its coronavirus vaccination campaign, in its election campaign, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit told th Central Elections Committee on Sunday.

According to the attorney general, Likud's use of the slogan constitutes an "improper use of public assets for the election campaign" that could potentially harm the nationwide vaccination campaign.

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It may lead people, Mendelblit argues, to conflate the Health Ministry's campaign with the election campaign. However, Mendelblit allowed for election publicity to include visits to and photographs of the vaccination centers.

Mendelblit submitted his opinion at the request of the Central Elections Committee, which is adjudicating a petition brought by the "National Responsibility Movement" on the matter. "This is a large-scale 'green passport' campaign that was published with funding from the Health Ministry's budget, in which a video was published, among other things, in different languages, on television and in various media channels," he wrote.

The attorney general added that "the state's position is that the use of a slogan that is used by the state in a large-scale information campaign constitutes an improper use of public assets for election publicity. This is because the publicity campaign 'piggybacks' on the state campaign, and may create an identification between the state campaign and a political publicity campaign in a way that may exploit public assets for election propaganda and may even harm the state's campaign to encourage immunization, by 'painting' it as a political campaign."

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