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Palestinian rap group slams 'criminal' Netanyahu over election video

Hip-hop collective Torabyeh threaten legal action over video featuring pretend 'IS militants' listening to their song
The video features IS militants whose truck bears the leftist slogan "Anyone But Bibi" (YouTube screengrab)

As election campaigning in Israel heats up ahead of a snap ballot next month, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party have released a contentious new video claiming a vote for the left will benefit Islamic State.

The video, uploaded to Netanyahu’s YouTube account on Saturday, features two actors portraying militants driving along a desert road in a white pick-up truck mounted with a machine gun and the Islamic State flag.

Two masked men in the front seat ask a passing driver for directions to Jerusalem, and are told to “turn left”.

The words “the Left will surrender to terrorism” then appear on screen.

The militants’ truck prominently displays a bumper sticker with the words “Anyone But Bibi,” a slogan used by Netanyahu’s opponents during the campaign.

The video is thought to be a pre-emptive attack advert after news came over the weekend that the left-wing Zionist Union has hired Reuven Adler, the advertising guru who came up with the slogan.

The Zionist Union hit back at Likud for the video, accusing Netanyahu of “colossal” security failures.

"He freed terrorists with blood on their hands and strengthened Hamas, and during his tenure Iran became a state that has reached the nuclear threshold," the party said in a statement.

The video’s backing track is the song Ghorbah, which translates as Alienation, by Palestinian hip-hop collective Torabyeh.

The band issued a statement after the video was released, accusing the “criminal Benjamin Netanyahu” of endangering the lives of its members by implying that they had links to IS.

The song was used without Torabyeh's permission, and the band promised to take legal action after what they called a “ruthless infringement of intellectual property rights”.

With the Israeli elections just weeks away, many mainstream political parties have turned to negative campaigning, despite calls from right-wing Economy Minister Naftali Bennett for a “ceasefire”.

Bennett’s plea came after Likud last week put out another controversial video, this time featuring a group of small children dressed as leading members of the Israeli cabinet playing wildly at a nursery.

In the video a small boy, meant to represent Bennett, plays frustratedly with an abacus and squabbles with other “cabinet members”.

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