A Breakdown of Israeli Campaign Ads

(Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

For a refresher on what is happening and how the Israeli electoral system works, see here. And for a refresher on the biggest issues this time around, click here.

Campaign Ads

What does each party’s campaign ad say about the Israeli political scene and public discourse in 2020? Play these videos for your students and use the discussion questions and classroom tips to unpack them. Because the ads are in Hebrew, we have summarized them briefly for you below.

This list is in order of number of projected Knesset seats (as of February 20th).

  1. Kachol Lavan (Blue-White): This ad focuses on the strong “shoulders” of Benny Gantz, how much responsibility they have successfully held (e.g., as IDF Chief of Staff) and how the next responsibility is the biggest of them all, leading the state of Israel. The ad ends with Kachol Lavan’s tagline “We must move forward.”
  2. Likud: This ad asks the question why some people have decided to oppose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at all costs. A diverse group of Israelis describe the many accomplishments of the prime minister and explain why they support him.
  3. Joint List: This ad is called “your voice against racism.” They show audio and words of multiple examples of what they describe as racism against Arabs. They do this by presenting a backdrop of diverse looking Arab Israeli citizens.
  4. Labor-Meretz-Gesher: This ad is called “a small ballot for big hope.” The ad explains that to achieve hope, one needs to vote for the party in order to get transportation, healthcare, education, peace – and to protect Benny Gantz from the right-wing leaders.
  5. Shas: This ad (from the previous election) shows what Shabbat could look like in a government led by Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, and Avigdor Lieberman. In the ad, an older man returns home from synagogue on Shabbat to greet his wife and, to his shock and dismay, all of his children and grandchildren are out at work, at a party, and even at government offices.
  6. United Torah Judaism: This ad tries to demonstrate how during the Oslo Accords of the mid-1990s, the UTJ party was guided by the leading Ashkenazi rabbis of the time, who instructed their followers not to cede any of the land of Israel and never to sit with the left. The final slogan of the ad reads: “It’s Judaism or nothing.”
  7. Yisrael Beiteinu: This ad is an attack on prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and party leader Avigdor Lieberman portrays him as someone who has capitulated to the Arab community in Israel too often. The controversial slogan at the end reads: “Bibi is good for the Arabs. On March 2, we’re putting an end to that.”
  8. Yamina: The title of the ad reads, “This is what happens when we’re not strong enough – Gush Katif,” with images and sounds from the Disengagement from the Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip in 2005. The slogan at the end of the ad reads: “Only a strong Yamina will protect the home.”