Rightist Israeli party fined for using IDF in ad

(JTA) — Israel’s Central Elections Committee fined the Jewish Home party for using Israel Defense Forces troops in its propaganda.

Elyakim Rubinstein, the committee chairman, on Wednesday ordered the rightist Jewish Home party to pay just over $1,000 for a poster in which IDF soldiers are depicted carrying the party’s logo and the slogan: “loving the country, serving the country,” according to NRG, the news site of the daily Ma’ariv.

Rubinstein said the ad violated a law banning use of the IDF “in elections propaganda in any manner or fashion that suggests the IDF is identified with any party of list.”

Last week, two polls predicted Jewish Home, which opposes any territorial concessions on Israel’s part, will emerge as Israel’s third largest party in the January 22 election, with approximately 12 seats in parliament.

Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett said in a television interview last month that if he ever receives an order as a soldier to evict Jews, he would ask his commander to relieve him of the task. Bennett, a reserves soldier in the IDF elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit, added that he would be willing to serve time in prison over this issue.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who appears headed for reelection, countered that he would not countenance including in his Cabinet advocates of such disobedience.

Part of the fine will cover the legal expenses of the complainant, the general secretary of the left-wing Peace Now movement, Yariv Oppenheimer, NRG reported.

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