Angry Response to Likud Kindergarten Campaign Clip

MKs slam clip as 'using children for political purposes' as debate rages over whether or not it broke child labor and elections laws.

Tova Dvorin, | updated: 11:49

Likud video - child 'Bennett' playing with tanks
Likud video - child 'Bennett' playing with tanks
Screenshot/Likud

Politicians and other officials have had strong reactions to the Likud video published Saturday night depicting the rest of the Knesset as an unruly kindergarten

"The Likud will continue to engage in kindergarten, we will continue to engage on issues important to the management of the state," Yisrael Beytenu responded Sunday morning to Channel 2. In the film, Yisrael Beytenu chairman and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is portrayed as a child who is told to "share his toys with the other children." 

"It's a shame that [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu, instead of using children for political purposes, cannot see the children who have nothing to eat or the children of the settlements around Gaza and Sderot who were afraid to go to school when he talked to Hamas," Labor-Hatnua leader and former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni added. 

Economics Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett quipped over his role in the short clip, which depicts him playing with tanks (a reflection of his desire to become Defense Minister, according to several reports). 

"At least that child is not allowing rockets to strike on Ben-Gurion airport," Bennett stated on Army Radio. "Everyone knows who it was that proposed to destroy 30 terror tunnels in Operation Protective Edge and who put the brakes on that for three weeks. We ended up waiting until very late and paying a heavy and unnecessary price." 

Kulanu chairman and former Likudnik Moshe Kahlon added, "I don't know where Bibi [nickname for Netanyahu - ed.] found a kindergarten with fewer than 35 children in it, but it's good that he finally realizes he is short-staffed." Education is a major party platform for Kulanu. 

Former Finance Minister and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who is depicted poking Bennett incessantly and being warned not to break an abacus (possibly symbolizing his failed term as Finance Minister), has yet to respond to the clip. 

"Cynical use of children"

Further controversy has been sparked by the use of children in the video, which Council for the Welfare of the Child Chairman Dr. Yitzhak Kadman slammed Sunday morning as a violation of child labor laws. 

"Election law explicitly forbids involving children under 15 in election campaigns," Kadman stated in a Channel 10 interview. "In the past it was very common to show each party member with his or her children and as a result it was written into law." 

Kadman noted that the parents must have signed off on the permits to allow their children to act in the clip, but sharply criticized everyone involved for exposing children to politics. 

"There is no doubt that this is illegal," he said. "This is a cynical exploitation of children, who don't participate in elections or even understand who Tzipi [Livni] or Naftali [Bennett] are." 

MK Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) added her belief that the entire scenario purposely skirted the law. 

"They knowingly broke the law, this film was produced in the first place knowing that they were going to break the law," Yechimovich claimed. "They wanted to broadcast it as if it leaked from the studios before elections, and it worked: now it's on TV and mainstream media." 

Likud responded that "it's a video, one of many, that was prepared at the headquarters of Information and approved for publication and broadcast."

"The video was filmed on the basis of a legal opinion, prepared in advance of the Likud's legal adviser, and after receiving the necessary approvals, including approval by the parents," it added. 

Likud blamed the video's publication, however, on a leak from the Likud broadcasting arm despite it not being released yet for publication. 




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