Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90
A huge billboard depicting PM Netanyahu with the slogan, ‘You're at the head, you're responsible,’ in Tel Aviv, February 14, 2024.

At the conclusion of his press conference Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked the reporters in the room over the enormous campaign displaying huge ads against him on Ayalon Highway and other major roads, as well as in the media and social networks, that claim Netanyahu is guilty of the colossal failure of October 7, and the Hamas attack and the massacre that followed.

“There are huge ads on Ayalon and throughout the country and I see advertisements in all the media worth tens of millions of dollars. And I want to ask you – did you not think to investigate this? Did you not think to check who is doing this? Where does it come from? What are the funding sources? Who is behind this huge amount of money which is about nothing but incitement, discord, and division?”

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The PM also noted that had there been a campaign of the same magnitude that supported him plastered all over Israel, the first thing the mainstream media would have investigated was who paid for it.

The new campaign is spearheaded by a group calling itself Kippur Fighters 73, comprised of veterans of the October 1973 war in which the failures of a Labor government headed by PM Golda Meir resulted in the death of some 2,500 IDF soldiers.

It’s interesting to note, the group registered their domain name on September 23, 2023, two weeks before the October 7th massacre.

In response to an inquiry by Haaretz, the group members revealed their funding, which they claim is only about NIS 1 million ($278,000), came from “donors from Israel and abroad who support us. We are a very compact organization and rely on our members, some of them themselves ex-Kippur fighters with abilities and money. Here, it’s a fact that we managed to do it.”

Kind of circular reasoning, if you ask me. Also, no way they got that kind of overwhelming exposure for a quarter-million dollars. Hopefully, at some point, they will have to reveal just how much money they received, and from whom.

So far, the group’s rallies have not been a great success, attracting hundreds to vigils outside Netanyahu’s home in Caesarea, and on the highways. It has also caught the ire of the hostages’ families, who accuse it of ruining their non-partisan strategy.

The Kippur Fighters 73 group issued a response to Netanyahu’s call: “His obsessive preoccupation with the campaign is a direct continuation of his attempt to escape responsibility and blame others for the grave failure in the country’s history. Just as was the case with Golda at the time, there is no choice but to replace him and go to the elections, and at the same time, to establish a state commission of inquiry that will investigate in depth the 2023 failure. This is the only way to bridge the divisions in the nation and bring about real rehabilitation.”

They said nothing of substance about who is paying for all this democracy stuff.

And now: some historical facts. The December 31, 1973 election resulted in Labor and Prime Minister Meir getting a whopping 51 Knesset mandates, with Likud trailing with 39. Whatever qualities those Kippur Fighters possess, memory is not one of them.

Golda resigned on April 11, 1974, and was replaced by former IDF chief of staff and ambassador to the US Yitzhak Rabin. Golda was not replaced in an election. It was Rabin who was replaced in an election, in May 1977, following a no-confidence vote of Agudath Israel over the desecration of Shabbat that had been caused when government ministers did not end on time a ceremony welcoming the new F-15 jet fighters from the US.

And Netanyahu’s Jerry Maguire question is still begging for an answer: Show me the money.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.