A Blue and White campaign video has sparked charges of incitement and anti-Semitism from chareidi MKs over its portrayal of them as seeking nothing but money to fund yeshivos. “The hatred and incitement of Yair Lapid is a new low of anti-Semitism and the crossing of a red line that reminds us of dark times, in which Jews were portrayed as money-grubbing and accused of raiding the public treasury,” said United Torah Judaism MK and Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman.
The video consists of flashes of social media messages, in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu contacts his “natural partners” – the chareidi parties and the United Right List – asking for assistance in the election, and shows the MKs he contacts making demands. MK Betzalel Smotrich of the United Right List is seen asking to annex all of Yehudah and Shomron, while Interior Minister Aryeh Deri says he wants “a trillion shekel.” Rabbi Litzman is seen demanding all the money that there is in Israel.
If there was any chance that Blue and White’s efforts to reach out to chareidim could have borne fruit, those chances were now dashed, Rabbi Litzman said. “Mr. Benny Gantz, as long as you do not publicly disassociate yourself from this campaign of incitement, you are a full partner to it and responsible for the crimes of hate that are being committed against a large group of Israelis which fights for its rights and needs, and is loyal to its principles and values.”
In a pithy comment, Rabbi Deri said that the video was an example of “anti-Semitism – there is no other word for it.” Shas faction chairman MK Rabbi Yoav Ben-Tzur said that “Blue and White has proven that it is nothing more than a rebranded Yesh Atid. In a desperate effort grab votes it is prepared to harm the Torah world, yeshivos, and the unity of the Jewish people.” Also criticizing the campaign was Blue and White MK Yoaz Hendel, who said “I do not like this. I speak in a different manner.”
Blue and White number two Yair Lapid defended the video. “I will not be lectured about morals and anti-Semitism by Sir Litzman,” Lapid said. “I am also not impressed by those who scream ‘hatred!’ anytime someone offers a word of criticism. There is real anti-Semitism in the world to worry about.”