Lapid asks election committee to stop ‘fake news’

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said he believed that cyber-campaigns will happen in Israel because they influenced recent voting in the U.S., France and the vote on Brexit in Britain.

August 20, 2018 19:23
1 minute read.
Lapid asks election committee to stop ‘fake news’

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid declaims during the filibuster on Wednesday night, ahead of the Knesset vote on the Police Recommendations Bill. (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)


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Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid began an initiative Monday to ensure that in Israel’s next general election, parties and candidates would not distribute “fake news” about their political opponents.

The initiative included an appeal to the central elections committee, a petition that will be sent to all the parties in which they will promise to play fair and a last-minute attempt at passing legislation before the 2019 election. The initiative’s slogan will be “don’t let robots tell you what to think.”

“In the months ahead, there will be an election in Israel that like always will be aggressive, harmful and intense,” Lapid wrote on his Facebook page. “But there will be a big difference, because there is a good chance that in this election, there will be cyber-campaigns that will influence the results and perhaps even decide them.”

Lapid said he believed it would happen in Israel, because cyber-campaigns influenced recent voting in the US, France and the vote on Brexit in Britain.

“Parties will pretend to be private citizens,” he wrote. “Chana from Ra’anana who loves Bibi might not really be from Ra’anana. She could be a robot in the Likud’s cyber-campaign. It is so easy to use robots to distribute fake news online that you have to be holy to not do it.”

Lapid noted that in the last election in 2015, Netanyahu’s Likud sent messages to a million voters warning that Arabs were being brought to vote in droves by buses funded by left-wing NGOs, and after the texts influenced the race, they turned out to be untrue, but Netanyahu paid no price for twisting the truth.

He said all parties could copy Netanyahu in the next election if steps are not taken immediately to prevent it. He called for the formation of a task force of graduates of Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Mossad and the IDF’s elite 8200 intelligence unit to be formed and funded.

“Israel should be the world leader in protecting democracy, because we have the ability and the smarts,” Lapid wrote. “In the years ahead, there will be more and more democratic countries whose elections will be decided by cyber attacks. Israel cannot afford to be one of them. We should have already started preparing for this yesterday.”

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