Israeli party pulls "What, you're not Jewish?" TV ad

JERUSALEM Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:28pm IST

Related Topics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Complaints by Russian-speaking immigrants prompted an ultra-Orthodox party in Israel to pull a TV commercial plugging their election campaign which shows a man recoiling in horror at discovering his bride is not Jewish.

In the advert, a Russian-accented bride receives a faxed certificate during her wedding ceremony attesting to her conversion to Judaism. With disgust in his voice, her Israeli husband blurts out: "What, you're not Jewish?"

The controversy reflected long-standing tensions between the religious Shas party, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, whose core constituency is made up of Jews of Middle Eastern or North African descent, and parties representing immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

There are at least 2 million Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel and hundreds of thousands do not meet Orthodox standards for recognition as Jews.

Several immigrants complained about the commercial in letters to the Israel Central Elections Committee and many more posted protests on social media sites such.

Nino Abesadze, immigrant lawmaker and candidate for the centrist Labour party, denounced the Shas advert in a notice posted on her Facebook page as "racist and mocking of the immigrants", and demanded it be taken off the air.

In a statement the committee said late on Wednesday it had found the advert offensive and that Shas had agreed not to run it anymore. The minute-long spot aired for two nights in the run-up to the January 22 parliamentary election.

Parties championing Russian-speaking immigrants such as the far-right Yisrael Beitenu led by former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, want to simplify Jewish conversion procedures in Israel controlled by the Orthodox Rabbinate.

Shas opposes this, as it does calls for civil marriage in Israel. The Rabbinate, also in charge of marriage procedures, issues marriage licences only to couples it deems Jewish under ritual law.

(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Pravin Char)

FILED UNDER:

SAARC Summit

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ferguson Riots

Ferguson Riots

National Guard, police curb Ferguson unrest as protests swell across U.S.  Full Article 

Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong riot police clear protest site, arrest student leaders.  Full Article 

Special Report

Special Report

Putin's allies channelled billions to Ukraine oligarch.  Full Article 

Polls 2016

Polls 2016

Romney tops Republican poll for '16; ahead of Clinton in election.  Full Article 

Syrian Crisis

Syrian Crisis

Russia vows support for Syria's Assad to combat "terrorism".  Full Article 

Tackling Jihadis

Tackling Jihadis

INSIGHT - Secular France moves to confront jihadism after slow start.  Full Article 

Award Backlash

Award Backlash

Save the Children under pressure, 100,000 oppose award for Tony Blair.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage