Hareidi MKs
Hareidi MKsFlash 90

The Hiddush organization for religious freedom and equality has turned to the Chairman of the Central Election Commission, Justice Salim Jubran, to warn the hareidi parties not to involve religious rituals and symbols in their election campaigns - including selling amulets, doling out curses to detractors, and promising blessings for voters.

Organization Chairman Uri Regev wrote a letter to Jubran over the issue.

"We turn to you to ask that you honor the request that [the Committee] will use its powers to issue guidelines reminding [hareidi parties of] the aforementioned prohibitions and specified election laws [. . .] and make it clear that a breach of these provisions will not be pardoned but will be punished to the full extent of the law," Regev wrote. 

"Experience shows that indeed our complaints have led in some cases to stop the violations to which we were exposed, but only after the fact, and after the breach lasted for some time, allowing criminals to reap the benefits."

The letter claimed that this conduct continues due to lack of enforcement, with sanctions and punishment "at a minimum or not enforced at all." 

Regev, for example, indicates that despite a decision to ban the use of endorsement from the Council of Torah Sages for specific parties during the previous elections to the Knesset, the United Torah Judaism party included such endorsements during municipal elections last year.

Regev has also turned to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein over the issue, according to Kikar HaShabbat, and is campaigning against the recruitment of entire schools, yeshivas (Torah academies - also for adults - ed.), and institutions of higher learning to promote a particular political party.

He called to step up the enforcement of laws against the bias during elections, as well as to ensure that students are studying instead of being roped into helping out election campaigns, as several such incidents have been reported in the past. 

The hareidi news website intimated that the campaign is being specifically directed at Shas, which controls several schools and uses a portrait of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef tz"l in its election campaign, but this has not been corroborated with reports elsewhere.