Leftist organization behind Facebook campaign to 'get out and vote'

The Israeli Alliance is urging Israelis on Facebook to get out and vote. But are they targeting everyone?

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Voting booth
Voting booth
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

An Israeli organization has begun an internet campaign targeting left-leaning Israelis and calling on them to go out and vote in the upcoming elections.

According to Israel Hayom, the organization's Facebook page, titled, "A third time and that's it," was created in January 2020, and all of its posts call on Israelis to vote in order to prevent a fourth round of elections. However, The Israeli Alliance, which runs the page, was founded by several leftist activists, and hundreds of thousands of shekels have been invested in the page itself.

The Israeli Alliance was founded in 2017, and its founder, Shai Cohen, is an activist for the Labor party. Others in the organization include Ori Kol, a longtime Meretz activist; Lior Stone, who was an adviser of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak; some of the V-15 activists, Ayala Brilliant and Itai Zimmer; and Linda Sasson, who is Meretz's spokeswoman for their current election campaign.

Israel Hayom also pointed out that one of The Israeli Alliance's donors is a billionaire who has donated to BDS-supporting organizations.

Despite its leftist leaders and sources of funding, the page claims to be apolitical and did not report itself as being involved in the elections - claims which allow it to avoid reporting its income and funders to the State Comptroller.

However, according to a law passed in March 2017, any body active in the elections - even if it is not a political party - is required to report to the State Comptroller if its income is more than 102,000 NIS.

According to the Justice Ministry's website, The Israeli Alliance received 3,357,164 NIS in 2018, fully 2,937,845 of which came from donations from abroad. And from August 2019 until the second round of elections on September 17, 2019, the organization spent 2,708,825 NIS advertising on Facebook. Now, the organization is paying hundreds of thousands of shekels on advertisements, including over 130,000 NIS in the past week alone.

These sums bring The Israel Alliance's page to one of the most-funded pages involved in Israel's elections, and its expenses are on the level of those of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and rival Blue and White Chairman MK Benny Gantz, Israel Hayom noted.

Though the posts themselves seem to be politically neutral, the paid campaign to encourage Israelis to get out and vote seems to have been targeted solely towards leftist voters.

The Israeli Alliance told Israel Hayom: "We love Israel. It hurts us to see the country stuck on infinite elections. In order to avoid being dragged to a fourth round of elections, we call on all citizens of Israel, from all areas of the country and from all viewpoints and beliefs to go out and vote. A third time, and enough. It depends only on us."

"It's a shame that Israel Hayom does not do its job as a central media organization to encourage everyone to vote, and ignored our requests for cooperation on the issue, instead trying to discourage civil efforts such as these."