Justice Eliezer Rivlin of the Central Elections Committee ruled Thursday that Kadima must either put its name on anonymous attack ads or take them down. The ruling was handed down in response to a petition from Likud MK Michael Eitan.
The attack ads in question target Likud head Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, and say, “Bibi? I don't trust him.” The ads have been posted on popular Israeli websites and hundreds of buses nationwide.
Rivlin gave the party three days to remove the ads or put its name on them.
Eitan expressed satisfaction with the verdict, saying that Kadima head Tzipi Livni must not be allowed to present herself as a “clean” politician while simultaneously engaging in an anonymous, illegal smear campaign. “If she's behind this, she needs to sign the ads, to take responsibility for them, and not hide behind anonymity,” he told the News1 Hebrew-language news service.
Eitan accused Livni of resorting to attack ads instead of debating the issues. “Even we, Livni's political rivals, expected a different kind of politics from her, but we were disappointed there as well,” he said.
The “I don't trust him” ads were not the first instance of anti-Netanyahu ads from the Kadima camp. Earlier in the campaign, Kadima created a website called “Bibi bluff,” which displays statements from various politicians criticizing Netanyahu and attacks many of his public announcements as “bluffs.”