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Scrapped Netanyahu campaign reveals poster of Herzog dressed in drag

Israel's Labour Party leader and opposition head Isaac Herzog warned new legislation on West Bank settlements could result in officials facing the International Criminal Court
MENAHEM KAHANA (AFP/File)
Herzog says the discovery 'elicits revulsion' and indicates Netanyahu’s 'very problematic character'

Another scrapped 2015 campaign from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party portrayed his opposition Isaac Herzog as a woman in an attempt to smear his opponent who was polling ahead at the time.

In copies of some of Likud’s unused campaigns obtained by Haaretz, the eventually rejected poster featured a photograph of Herzog, originally published in Haaretz in 2013, but with some alterations, courtesy of the Likud.

In the altered photo, Herzog sports a wig topped with a black bow, diamond earrings dangle from his ears, his lips are painted and his eyes are smeared with black liner. The poster reads “revolution,” a slogan meant to mock undermine the opposition leader.

According to Haaretz, guerrilla campaigns were prepared alongside the mainstream campaign with even cruder slogans, orchestrated by Nir Hefet, the Likud’s 2015 campaign strategist.

The Zionist Union’s Tzipi Livni was another target in the campaign, with posters featuring Hamas leaders read: “Here’s the person who always answers Tzipi Livni.”

Staffers confirmed to Haaretz that while the posters were in fact made, they were never used, while others had never even seen them.

Hefet denied however that he or Netanyahu had ever seen the posters.

“Had material like this ever come to our attention, in any case I would not have approved it, and certainly the prime minister wouldn’t have,” he told Haaretz.

“If such material was indeed produced, it was presumably shelved at a lower level and never approved for publication, like many other ideas that were raised by advertising people during the campaign but then shelved,” he continued. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is utterly opposed in principle to campaigns of this kind.”

Herzog responded to the posters, saying the discovery “elicits revulsion” but “mainly indicates Netanyahu’s very problematic character.”

“His only interest is personal survival,” said Netanyahu’s opposition. “He’s willing to put every sacred value, every norm and every word of incitement on the pyre, all for the sake of momentary political gain. "

In another tactic against his rivals, the party conducted several opinion polls to gauge Israeli opinion on both US president Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, as well as party leaders of the Israeli Knesset including the Prime Minister, Herzog, Livni; Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, Habayit Hayehudi head Naftali Bennett and Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman.

According to Haaretz, the secretly conducted survey was also intended to be used in Likud’s election campaign, negatively portraying the Obama administration amid an escalating rift between the two leaders, but was ultimately scrapped.

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