As Election Looms Closer, Radio and TV Ads Begin
With only two weeks left until elections for the 19th Knesset, Tuesday will see the first of the ad campaigns which will be broadcast on radio and television for the next 11 days.
Determined by a lottery and not party size, the broadcasts will begin with Rabbi Haim Amsalem's campaign ad for his Am Shalem party.
Each party will receive seven minutes for TV ads and fifteen minutes for radio. Parties with current MKs will receive an extra two minutes for each incumbent for their television spots and an extra four for radio, which means that Likud-Beytenu will have the longest air time with 91 minutes. Kadima, which was a major party in the 18th Knesset until losing candidates to fragmentation will receive 49 minutes. Labor will receive 23 minutes. New party lists such as Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid and Tzipi Livni's HaTnua will receive the standard 7 minutes of air time.
Radio broadcasts will begin Tuesday morning and will run three times a day, after breaking news at 8:00, 14:00 and 18:00. For the first time, Army Radio will also be broadcasting election ads every day at 20:30. Television ads will run on Channels ten, one and two.
Judge Elyakim Rubinstein, chairman of the Central Elections Committee, has already rejected the campaign ads of the Arab Balad party and parts of Otzma LeYisrael's ad. The Balad ad was rejected because it included nationalist Knesset members appearing to be singing the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikva", to an Arab tune.
Judge Rubinstein ruled that the ad, "distorts and ridicules the national anthem" and that disgracing state symbols, such as the national anthem, is unacceptable in an election campaign. Balad said in response that the decision is a continuation of the silencing and intimidation of the party.
Rubinstein also told Otzma LeYisrael party leaders MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari that he would like to remove the phrases "no rights without duties" and "without the existence of these obligations, one cannot demand rights" from the party's TV election ads and found problems with their use of the phrase "only a Jewish and not an arab state."
In response, Eldad and Ben-Ari said, "These sentences are sentences that are legitimate in a democracy, are completely normal and are justified publicly and legally. Any attempt to remove them would deal a fatal blow to freedom of expression."