Petitions over 'Vote Shas - Go to Heaven' Campaign

Fliers featuring Chief Rabbi, lists of names for 'blessings' subject to scrutiny; Shas penalized for one ad campaign.

Tova Dvorin , | updated: 2:49 PM

Center: Shas ad.
Center: Shas ad.
Yaakov Naumi/FLASH90

Several petitions have been filed against the Shas party Tuesday, alleging the party is violating a host of bans on religious imagery and promises of "blessings" for voters in its advertisement campaign for the 20th Knesset elections. 

Eli Yishai's Yachad-Ha'am Itanu party filed an urgent petition Tuesday to the Central Elections Committee Chairman, Justice Salim Jubran, demanding that Shas face penalties for using images of the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, in its advertisement campaign. 

"These are illegal activities, as the Chief Rabbi of Israel must not be politically involved," the petition claims, noting that the advertisements could be viewed as offensive to the institution of the Rabbinate. Jubran has yet to respond to the petition.

Hours later, Jubran has also ruled against the Kol Hai radio station for similar complaints by Yishai. The station has been airing anti-Yachad propaganda, Yishai alleged; Jubran testified that while, in his own listening, he did not hear such propaganda, he has filed an injunction preventing the station from airing material on Yachad "to be careful." 

The CEC Chairman has also accepted a separate petition against the party from Jewish Home, however, on grounds that Shas has been distributing a list across the country wherein Shas voters can sign up for a pidyon hanefesh - a form of blessing - from the party Rabbis for their vote, and the ad features an image reading "those who choose Shas go straight to heaven." 

Jubran ruled that the campaign broke the law, and issued an injunction prohibiting Shas from distributing the lists. 

Shas has responded by expressing "sorrow" over the ruling and added that "kissing mezuzahs and wearing amulets is an integral part of the tradition of most Israeli citizens [. . .] we are proud of our traditions and reject suppression and incitement."