The pro-peace organization Darkenu has been breaking the law by actively supporting the left in the election campaign, the Likud said on Thursday in a petition to the Central Election Committee.
Darkenu is registered as a nonpolitical entity unaffiliated with a specific party. But according to the Likud petition, it has been de facto running the center-left’s grassroots operation by promoting, albeit indirectly, the Blue and White Knesset list.
The Blue and White Party is headed by former Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz, and according to recent polls, it is set to become the largest Knesset faction. It could, in some scenarios, win a confidence vote and form a minority government with the tacit support of Arab parties outside the coalition.
According to Likud, millions of shekels have been spent by Darkenu in an online effort to convince voters to shift their support from Likud to Blue and White, despite that the organization is not endorsing any specific party or candidate.
In its petition, the Likud asked that the committee ban Darkenu’s advocacy activity because it had not properly filed a request to become an “active election entity,” which is a prerequisite for any group wishing to engage in direct election propaganda in Israel.
The Likud also claimed that Darkenu had been using a registry of eligible voters, which was allegedly in violation of Israel’s election law.
Darkenu has avoided official endorsement of and affiliation with a particular political camp, although it has long stated that it would try to convince the Israeli public to support moderates and its vision of a “diplomatic agreement that will result in separation into two states and ensure Israel’s security.”
Darkenu is the latest iteration of Victory2015 (V15), which created a similar controversy during the 2015 election when it actively called on Israelis to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The controversy was amplified by U.S. lawmakers who accused it of potentially violating the U.S. tax code because of its links with an U.S.-registered group called OneVoice, but the two groups strongly denied any cooperation on campaign-related matters, and no concrete evidence was found.
“Darkenu is the latest incarnation of two organizations that have joined forces before the 2015 election with the stated goal of toppling the Likud and handing over power to the center-left parties,” the Likud said in the petition Thursday.