Netanyahu's Party Alone in Opposing Transparent Online Election Propaganda

Likud voices objection to an appeal filed to Israel's Central Elections Committee that seeks to ban anonymous propaganda ahead of the April 9 vote

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
File photo: Election campaign poster with the image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lies among ballot papers at his party's election headquarters in Tel Aviv, March 18, 2015.
File photo: Election campaign poster with the image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lies among ballot papers at his party's election headquarters in Tel Aviv, March 18, 2015.Credit: Dan Balilty/AP
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party called on Israel's Central Elections Committee on Wednesday to forgo an appeal to ban anonymous online propaganda, making it the only party to publicly oppose such a ban ahead of the April 9 election.

Lawyers Shachar Ben Meir and Isaac Aviram appealed to the committee in December to extend a law banning anonymous election propaganda, so that it applies to online publicity, too, and not only to newspapers or billboards mentioned in the 1959 law.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 11Credit: Haaretz

They said all parties must stand behind any publication on their behalf, including all comments or paid publicity. The appeal also urges the committee to order all candidates for public office to identify as such in any message sent on their behalf.

>> Read more: Trump and Netanyahu agree: Desperate times call for desperate speechesNetanyahu tries to sell his innocence with Instagram meme blitz

In its response, which stands out from reactions by other parties, Likud said that the Central Elections Committee doesn't have the authority to discuss such matters, which require changes to the law. Other parties that responded to the appeal supported it.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said the appeal raises important issues that he wishes to look into in a special discussion.

Netanyahu has recently ordered Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and head of the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky, to halt the advancement of a legislative reform on election propaganda, aimed at adapting it to the internet and multi-channel media.

The proposed reform includes the undoing of a ban on broadcasting propaganda in the 60 days leading up to the vote and transparency on social media propaganda, including paid comments. Netanyahu argued he wants to study the bill before advancing it, but political sources say he's concerned about its impact on his electoral campaign.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews

 A Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, Poland.

Israel and Poland Fight Over History, Truth - and Israeli Students