Racist election posters put up by the far-right religious HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) party in Ramla, a mixed Jewish-Arab city in the center of the country, were removed on Wednesday, October 16, after most of them were vandalized.
Only a handful of the 40 advertisements that went up around town the day before remained intact, Zion Cohen, director of the Zohar Outdoor Advertising Company, told Haaretz.
The removed posters encouraged Jewish residents to come out and vote in the upcoming October 30 municipal elections and strengthen HaBayit HaYehudi in the city government, lest they risk having their daughters marry Muslims.
Above a photograph of a woman wearing a hijab the posters bore the slogan “Tomorrow it could be your daughter,” Beneath the photograph the poster reads: “Only a strong HaBayit HaYehudi [in the municipal council] will safeguard Jewish Ramla.”
Renowned political illustrator Ze’ev Engelmayer came out costumed as his cartoon character Shoshke and covered the signs with his own posters titled “The daughters of Ramla.” Engelmayer told how “When I was going around I saw posters that had been vandalized… This generated real anger among residents. I am not harming the signs but it would behoove the advertising companies to know that racist ads that fan hatred create an effect that comes back like a boomerang and harms them as well. They shouldn’t cooperate with this.”
Sapir Slutzky Amran, a resident of Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, hung her own protest posters over the HaBayit HaYehudi ones; hers bore the face of Naftali Bennett, HaBayit HaYehud’s chairman, and read, “Tomorrow this could be your son.” In a Facebook post, she wrote, “HaBayit HaYehudi decided to warn the fathers of the Jewish daughters of Ramla against assimilation, God forbid, but we decided to explain the dangers of racism to Ramla residents.”
Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) sent a letter to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit on Wednesday demanding that parties spreading racist messages be prosecuted or even disqualified from running in the end of the month elections.
“There is no need to elaborate on the severity of this phenomenon and the serious damage it causes to the delicate fabric of relations between Jews and Arabs in general, and in the mixed cities in particular. Such racist and inflammatory messages are invalid and illegal and require immediate and decisive intervention by the attorney general to block their continued dissemination,” he wrote, referring to both the Ramla ads and others posted by the Likud two weeks ago in Tel Aviv proclaiming, “It’s us or them.”