Likud expresses anger over election interference by left-wing group hiding true aims

Likud party officials express anger after learning that a ‘Get out the Vote’ campaign appears to only target left-wing voters. 

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Likud officials reacted furiously Wednesday to a report that a leftist organization hid behind a seemingly non-partisan ‘Get out the Vote’ campaign to target Israeli citizens likely to only vote for one side in the upcoming March elections.

On Tuesday, Israel Hayom had revealed that an organization called The Israeli Alliance was behind the “Third Time is Enough”  Facebook campaign urging Israelis to come to the polls to change the government. However, it focused its online efforts on those who live in liberal-leaning areas of the country.

By disguising its effort in non-partisan clothing it could avoid various Israeli campaign laws, Israel Hayom reports.

The Alliance is led by veteran Israeli leftists and has received funding from an American foundation that counts harsh critic of Israel George Soros among its major backers, the paper notes.

“Again we hear of egregious, and seemingly illegal, interference of global, Leftist organizations that support BDS [Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement] in the Israeli election campaign,” said Likud Minister Yariv Levin. “We won’t let them, and this time we’ll come out to vote in droves.”

Calling the effort “unacceptable,” Likud Minister Ofir Akunis said, “The authorities must examine the legal aspects of this meddling as soon as possible.”

He then mocked the efficacy of their campaign, saying, “The methods are the same methods and the losses are the same losses. The Israeli left, which for generations has been unable to convince the Israeli public of its ideas, is not internalizing that its ideology has gone bankrupt.”

The pro-Zionist Betzalmo NGO sent a letter to the State Comptroller, which said in part:

“In recent months, the Israeli Alliance has spent many millions … on various unmarked Facebook pages, all to encourage voting specifically by leftists. In addition, the association receives most of its money from abroad. It cannot be that elements from abroad, including George Soros, who has donated to the association in the past, will influence the election campaign.”

An unnamed Likud official told Israel Hayom that the party was weighing whether to appeal to the Central Elections Committee regarding the matter.

It is illegal for a group spending more than 102,000 shekels on political activism for a specific party not to register as a political player and reveal its funding sources.

The Israeli Alliance has spent hundreds of thousands of shekels in the last month on its campaign, but has not registered because its ads do not back a specific party, rather the Left in general.

The Alliance responded to the allegations by calling them “lies.” It said “We will continue to work with integrity and to encourage the citizens of the State of Israel from all ends of the political spectrum, from Right and Left, to realize their democratic right to vote.”