Likud launches anti-media campaign with mysterious billboard

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whispering in a cabinet meeting on July 23, 2018 (photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whispering in a cabinet meeting on July 23, 2018
(photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL)
When an unattributed billboard with photos of journalists and the words “They won’t decide” went up on the Ayalon Highway on Friday, it wasn’t too difficult to guess who it was meant to help.
After all, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had already said in news conferences and online videos that the media and left-wing activists “won’t decide” who will win the upcoming elections, the public will.

Still, the Likud left the matter an open question until Saturday night, when the party confirmed that it was, in fact, their billboard, featuring Raviv Drucker of Channel 13, Guy Peleg and Amnon Abramovich of Channel 12, and Ben Caspit of Ma’ariv.
The Likud followed the billboard with a video on Netanyahu’s Facebook page with the message: “For three years the Left and media have been hounding the attorney-general so that he would submit an indictment at any cost.”
The video then showed photos of activists confronting Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit at the supermarket, on the street and outside synagogue, followed by video clips of angry protesters chanting, “Netanyahu to prison,” and an activist saying, “He’s not an attorney-general. He’s a dishrag.”
“Will they succeed?” the video asked.
The new clip followed reports that Mandelblit is leaning toward adopting police recommendations to indict Netanyahu for bribery in Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla! affair. A Likud source said the goal of the newest campaign materials is to minimize the impact of Mandelblit's decision, should he decide to summon Netanyahu to a pre-indictment hearing before the April 9 elections.
The Meretz Party asked State Comptroller Joseph Shapira to check if the anonymous billboard breaks election laws.
“An active body in the election must register with the State Comptroller and follow the relevant instructions in the law,” wrote Meretz Secretary-General Tomer Resnick and the party’s attorney, Dror Morag. “This is inappropriate election propaganda, hiding sources of funding. Such actions are a crime that carries a prison sentence.”
As for the video, opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich called it “calculated incitement” that calls for violence against journalists, “in a way that characterizes countries in which democracy is on the decline.”
Yacimovich also expressed concern that it is meant to “strike fear in Attorney-General Mandelblit. The goal is to prevent the attorney-general from submitting an indictment in any way, and to ensure that if he does, his professional, measured decision will be colored as treason.”