Likud party's "grassroots" base began running an ad in the ‘Likudnik’ website, an unofficial site run by party activist Arik Ziv, Tuesday that used Holocaust imagery including barbed wire and a yellow Jewish star to convince voters that Naftali Bennett's party was like a ghetto for religious voters.
The caption on the ads is "The Jewish Ghetto, headed by Naftali Bennett," and the logo features a yellow star like the one Nazis forced Jews to wear on their clothes.
The text says: "60 years! It took the knit kippot 60 years to break out of the sectoral ghetto that the Mafdal (National Religious Party) had put them in. 60 years until we finally succeeded in assimilating into the general Jewish public and freeing ourselves from the isolated ghetto that past leaders had locked us into.”
"Now," the text continues, "Naftali Bennett wants to bring us back to the old NRP. Sorry Naftali, we prefer to be part of the Israeli public and not separate. Knitted kippahs will have an influence from the inside. Sorry, Naftali, but we would rather be a part of the Israeli public and not separate ourselves from it. Knitted kippot change things from within."
"My Likud brothers what's going on with you?" Bennett asked rhetorically in a short Facebook response. "I am speechless."
Likud Beitenu denounced the advertisement Tuesday and called upon Bennett "to file a complaint for incitement with the police, so that the identity of the people behind the advertisement can be ascertained."
"Likud has no connection to the Likudnik website and everything that is published there is their sole responsibility," the party said.
Later in the afternoon, Likud supporter Moshe Ifargan, and a candidate on the Likud list, spoke to Arutz Sheva on Tuesday and admitted he was behind the campaign, and has no regrets.
"I do not apologize for using the word 'ghetto,'" he said. "It is a term that speaks of isolationism and of the price of nationalism."
Ifargan recalled statements made by Likud candidate Moshe Feiglin, who is a religious Zionist. "Feiglin is right in saying that the religious-Zionist community thinks only about short-term gain, and ultimately loses everything," he said.
In an immediate response, Ifergan, number 96 on the party's Knesset list in the coming elections, was expelled from the Likud. The Likud-Beiteinu campaign headquarters expressed its "Disgust at the shocking campaign," adding that "the Likud has decided to expel Moshe Ifergan because of the ad campaign in which Bennett is seen behind a wire fence and a hurtful use is made of the Holocaust's symbols."
"I am indeed on the Likud list. But they dismissed me because they don't want to be associated with the campaign and that's understandable. It makes sense. I did it of my own accord and the party has nothing to do with it," Ifergan told Ynet.