A Shas TV campaign commercial which casts aspersions on the state conversion system has been labelled as “racist” by several politicians.It's bad enough that early leftists in Israel had a negative attitude towards Jews from Arabic lands. Now Shas is making things worse by launching one-dimensional attacks on Russians, making themselves look as bad as those early leftist politicians in the country. Why, back in 1999, they made offensive claims against Natan Sharaksky that he wanted the interior ministry so he could bring prostitutes into the country! Which was simply unacceptable language, and only makes them look like loose cannons. Coupled with their spoiled-child attitude, it's a very poor way to run a political campaign.
In the ad, a tall blonde woman named Marina, who is speaking Hebrew with a thick Russian accent, punctuated with phrases in Russian, dials “star conversion” on a fax machine while standing under a wedding canopy with her fiancé.
“Wait, you’re not Jewish?” her Sephardi-looking husband-to-be asks in surprise, as the reply fax rolls in.
“Now I am,” Marina responds happily. [...]
Seth Farber, an Orthodox rabbi and director of the religious rights lobbying group ITIM, also slammed the commercial and accused the party of hypocrisy. [...]
“This ad campaign is a slap in the face for immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Farber added, noting that “the Torah mentions 36 times the prohibition of denigrating converts” and calling on Yosef to ban the campaign. [...]
Renegade Shas MK and Am Shalem party leader Haim Amsalem also weighed in: “Shas's broadcast against converts is racist and is a direct continuation of their ugly and divisive sectarian campaign.”
Update: while we're on the subject of Shas, The Jerusalem Post got a letter on Jan. 6 about Aryeh Deri's dhimmitude:
Sir, – Shas leader Arye Deri states that there should be an interim agreement with the (socalled) Palestinians, and immediately afterwards urges an Israeli withdrawal from parts of Judea and Samaria (“In ‘Post’ interview, Deri calls for long-term deal with Palestinians,” January 4). Perhaps he was incarcerated too long to realize that an interim agreement with your enemy ultimately becomes a permanent agreement.When Deri says they're not nationalist, it can also be construed as saying they're not Zionist, which is synonymous with patriotism. That's another very sad thing about Deri and Shas.
On the one hand Deri says, “We aren’t nationalist,” and then states that God gave us this land. First, why isn’t he a nationalist? That’s what he and all of us should be. Second, if God gave us this land, who gave Deri the right to give it to others? His comment, “Our rabbis will decide what is best to do,” is particularly objectionable, as rabbis are supposed to decide halachic questions, not political or national questions, especially when it comes to relinquishing our holy land.
Update: Israel Hayom has a video available with their article of what Shas' advertisement is like and I find it very disgusting. It resorts to vulgar stereotypes, and has no place in our society.
Update 2: Shas has agreed to quit using the ad.