Israeli party’s attack ad featuring Hitler sparks controversy

In the fictitious conversation, one member of the group sends a picture of Hitler with a heart emoji.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

A campaign ad disseminated on WhatsApp by the right-wing party Otzma Yehudit, headlined “Watch: Lapid’s Dream Government,” has been widely condemned.

An attached video depicts a pretend WhatsApp group being formed between members of a new government led by Yair Lapid, Israel’s main opposition leader. He is joined by members of the Arab Joint List and left-wing politicians.

Notably, the ad includes politicians heretofore considered staunchly right-wing, such as Naftali Bennett and Gideon Saar, as they’ve been accused of a readiness to take their parties into a left-wing government.

In the fictitious conversation, one member of the group sends a picture of Hitler with a heart emoji. Another sends a picture of terrorist Samir Kuntar, also with a heart emoji. There’s also the start of a Holocaust joke.

The conversation also includes a remark about canceling the Nation-State Law, which defines Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and removing “Jewish soul” from the lyrics of Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah. One member, representing Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, also suggests a day to honor deceased PLO leader Yasser Arafat and a monthly visit to his grave.

In the ad, the group’s leader, Lapid, agrees. among other things, to cancel the Law of Return to the State of Israel for Jews and to institute a day to honor the terror group Hamas.

Betzalel Smotrich, whose National Religious Party merged with Itamar Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit earlier this month, condemned the ad due to the Hitler and Holocaust reference.

“The video that was distributed tonight without our knowledge is very serious. As a third generation of survivors, the Holocaust is out of bounds. Period,” Smotrich said.

“We have a sharp argument with Bennett who refuses to commit to a right-wing government and seeks to form a government with Lapid and Merav Michaeli. The use of Hitler and the Holocaust is beyond the bounds of discourse. Period,” he added.

Yesh Atid leader Lapid said, “There is no limit to the abomination of Ben Gvir and Smotrich. Ghetto, Holocaust, Hitler, Samir Kuntar, everything is allowed in the name of racism and extremism. Shame also on Netanyahu who is doing everything to bring these extremists into the Knesset of Israel.”