Benjamin Netanyahu’s team sent warning letters to major Israeli news channels demanding they don’t air an aggressive ad campaign against the prime minister that “incites to violence.”
The ad campaign, which goes under the slogan, “You’re the leader. You’re guilty,” began at the end of last month. So far, the ads have only been broadcast on Channel 12 but they have a strong presence on social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and X.
The ads began with a five-second spot and have since grown in length. In one 30-second ad, Netanyahu is held responsible for bringing about the Oct. 7 massacre by failing to keep earlier promises to topple Hamas, releasing the terrorist group’s leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar in the 2011 prisoner exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and allowing Qatar to supply cash to Hamas. “For 14 years, you built Hamas,” the ad says.
The ad is produced by a group calling itself “Kippur Fighters 73” and made up of veterans of the Yom Kippur War. The group’s leadership was active in opposing the Netanyahu government’s judicial reform effort before the outbreak of the current conflict.
Responding to reports of the prime minister’s attempt to silence them, the group said in a statement, “Netanyahu is under pressure from a campaign that says the obvious—the one who heads [the government] and who built Hamas for 14 years, and ignored warnings is the one to blame.
“Netanyahu’s preoccupation with shelving the campaign and trampling on freedom of expression illustrates there is no choice but to replace him and go to the elections,” Kippur Fighters 73 added.
According to Speed Digital, a technology news site, the campaign is well-funded with the group spending 250,000 shekels (~$68,500) on Meta (Facebook, Instagram), and a similar amount on both Google and X.
The website estimates that between 250,000 and 400,000 shekels (~$110,000) were spent in the last two weeks on Channel 12 advertising alone.
The social media numbers cover the last 30 days, which would mean they include earlier, less extreme ads by the group, which called for early elections and for Netanyahu to step down, but did not hold him directly responsible for the Oct. 7 massacre.
Speed Digital said it couldn’t identify the funders of Kippur Fighters 73 and the owners of the group’s internet domain chose to remain hidden.