Most of the attention [Mitzna's campaign ads] is directed toward his military
record, including his medals and citations for bravery. Like Barak before him (on the wing of the hijacked Sabena plane), the "leftist" Mitzna feels
obliged to remind the electorate that he too was busy killing Arabs for 30
Ha'aretz - January 8, 2003
Campaign Broadcasts / Likud turns to Arafat again
By Yossi Verter
Yasser Arafat again plays a starring role in the Likud's campaign commercials
that began to air last night. During the past four elections, the Palestinian
leader has carried the Likud's ads on his back - his face distorted, lips
trembling, now with Amram Mitzna, in 1999 and 2001 with Ehud Barak and in
1996 with Shimon Peres. There are endless variations of shattering glass in
these commercials, produced under the direction of Arthur Finkelstein.
Against this background, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appears, promising again
to bring peace and security, suggesting that Palestinian resistance is
starting to crack. With the exception of a brief appearance by Defense
Minister Shaul Mofaz, the rest of the Likud Knesset list is nowhere to be
In fact, in the third of its commercials broadcast last night, Sharon finds
it necessary to say: "Whoever wants to choose me, must vote Likud. Whoever
votes Likud, is voting for me." Sharon seems to be saying: I know that it's
hard for you to vote for the Likud list, but you have no alternative - Take a
pill against nausea and place your ballot.
Sharon, of course, was filmed for the commercial before Ha'aretz broke the
story yesterday about the questionable loan his son Gilad received from a
South African millionaire.
The only surprise last night was the Likud's decision to show terror victims
in the party's ads. Perhaps this was a sort of preemptive strike against an
anticipated attack by its rivals regarding the security situation. In the
background, Sharon is addressing the public. He identifies with the
difficulty situation, but doesn't take responsibility for it. He reminds the
viewers that the state has experienced even more difficult days (the 1973 Yom
Kippur War) and promises that he has a "plan." He concludes in an optimistic
tone: We shall overcome.
Terror attacks also served as the backdrop for the Labor Party's commercials
yesterday. Amram Mitzna, the relatively anonymous candidate who needs every
moment of media exposure, comes across as a nice guy, warm, carrying his
grandson in his arms. He promises to build a separation fence, attacks Sharon
for failing to do so, and turns to Yitzhak Rabin (twice) as a character
Mitzna is not ashamed to display the other players on the Labor party team.
He is shown chairing a meeting at party headquarters with other senior Labor
officials. But most of the attention is directed toward his military record,
including his medals and citations for bravery. Like Barak before him (on the
wing of the hijacked Sabena plane), the "leftist" Mitzna feels obliged to
remind the electorate that he too was busy killing Arabs for 30 years.
The campaign ads, which will begin to lose most of its viewing audience
tomorrow, is unlikely to have much impact on this election campaign. In fact,
election ads have only made a real difference twice during the past two
decades (Kiryat Shmona in 1984 and Peres-Arafat in 1996). The headlines about
Likud corruption scandals will play a more predominant role, though they
played a minor part in the commercials yesterday.
Shinui chairman Tommy Lapid didn't forget to make reference to the political
shenanigans that have dominated the headlines of late, using a number of
props (including handcuffs and a "lost" ballot box) to drive home this
message. It was a more mellower Lapid than the angry prophet of the 1999
election campaign, though he reiterated his old promise not to sit in a
governing coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties.
Lapid's rival, Meretz chairman Yossi Sarid, also struck a moderate pose,
focusing on the party's achievements in the field of education during Sarid
tenure as minister in the Barak government.
Hadash, as usual, portrayed a stark view of real life, showing a Jewish
mother visiting a Jewish cemetery and a Muslim mother visiting a Muslim
cemetery. In the background, there is piano music.
And that really tells it all.