Facebook & Netanyahu colluded to tilt Israel’s April 2019 election results. I’m the whistleblower involved

Itai Leshem
Jun 27 · 17 min read

Tel-Aviv, Israel. 18 months ago I was in the right place at the right time, equipped with the particular set of skills necessary to volunteer for the job that would bring about this investigation for this Black Mirror type of scandal.

I took that payless job and have worked full time starting January 1st, 2018 to see it through. My smart, loving and beautiful wife had to financially support me and our amazing two kids all by herself during this long period. We had to turn to our life savings to make ends meet. I was obsessed with this case. Still am.

I received no help or support from third parties and answered to no one. Whatever the actual outcome be, this is all me. I only wanted to expose the dreadful reality I alone understood.

I’ve exposed, detailed and documented beyond any reasonable doubt for the benefit of our law enforcement agencies what I’m certain is a massive and illegal election bribe between Facebook and Netanyahu which tilted the outcome of Israel’s April 2019 elections in Netanyahu’s favor. If not stopped the same bribe deal would also take its toll on our September 2019 elections.

Facebook’s reward from Netanyahu for controlling the minds and future of 9 million Israelis was a regulation free business environment with exactly 0% tax on the billions it makes in revenues here.

These allegations and others made and amply supported by me are being quietly investigated these days by the relevant Israeli authorities.

Following my months-long persistence detailed below, Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, has officially notified me (Hebrew) in writing 2 weeks ago that he ordered my claims to be investigated by the State Attorney, his second in command.

Unofficially I got this exciting news in a short email a month ago, just hours before I intended to appeal, for the second time, to our High Court of Justice in order to force this investigation. I’ve left our authorities no choice. Now I’m just shedding the light of day on this scandal, hopefully, making sure no cover up would be possible. [SEE UPDATE AT THE END — our AG has decided not to pursue this investigation and I’m appealing against him within days to our High Court of Justice].

In the trove of evidence sent to our Attorney General I’ve specifically and directly tied and connected the July 2018 last minute surprise decision by Netanyahu to sink the first piece of legislation losely regulating Facebook to unprecedented, unexplainable and unlawful actions taken by Facebook on its platform as well as elsewhere, during the same week Netanyahu evaporated Facebook’s Law. These actions by Facebook, which benefited Netanyahu personally, were crucial for his success in the election held less than a year later.

This is my first attempt to convey this story in English. For the past year I have written in Hebrew on my Facebook profile everything I claim and know about this affair. Nothing here would be news to my Hebrew reading followers. I’ve also made the point to create a dedicated Facebook page for this scandal and paid Facebook every week as an advertiser to promote my claims and this developing story on its platform. Each promoted post of mine was reviewed by a Facebook employee who was obviously briefed well, as all my requests for promotions were approved within a few hours. Obviously, this piece would also be promoted by me on Facebook as well as on Twitter.

The characteristics of the illegal coverup implemented by Facebook during the past 18 months suggest that someone made sure the board of directors of Facebook Inc would be able to claim plausible deniability of this story for when/if it explodes and all hell breaks loose.

Tampering with my freedom of speech and my right to tell this true story on Facebook would have seriously complicated things later on for Facebook when the SEC would make its entrance. And so I was and still am untouchable on Facebook and that goes for every single word I’ve posted there on this utterly amazing tale of mine.

My work did not just expose an election bribe which caused havoc to our democracy, it also made clear that our democracy was already sick, if not dying. Yours is too.

I’ve invested a lot of time and effort to make certain that this story, my claims and the publicly available court records which contain them all are known to the hundreds (probably more) of relevant Israeli journalists that should have had an obvious interest to cover this scandal and make it known to the public. This has not happened.

My only working theory on why the Israeli media froze instead of doing its job is that they are all scared from Facebook, possibly also threatened, Netanyahu wasn’t an important factor in this coverup.

Our entire MSM and any other relevant watchdog were all muted by Facebook. They still are. Some journalists were kind enough to let me know (example in Hebrew) they were barred from touching this story for legal reasons.

Mostly they simply ignored my relentless approaches (latest example in Hebrew), without explaining why.

This interview with me on Channel 10, in the beginning of my investigation well before I made public my claim of an election bribe, was the only real exposure I’ve got from the MSM.

Later on I was also interviewed for a planned piece on this scandal in the leading channel 12 here, but it somehow got censored.

I challenge readers to try and get a comment on my claims here from any prominent Israeli journalist who operates a Twitter account. I guarantee not even one would dare to dispute my claims. Most likely your approach would be ignored just like mine were.

Let’s get this over with

On January 1st, 2018 I read a post on Facebook by Amir Ohana, a politician from Netanyahu’s party, currently serving as our Justice Minister, he informed his followers that he contacted a high level manager in Facebook Israel (a subsidiary of Facebook Inc) and managed to convince Facebook to reopen the popular fake account, Adam Gold, which was shut down only 24 hours before.

Ohana made clear in his public post that Facebook apologized for blocking the fake profile of Adam Gold, which was the most popular and influential profile in Israel for a period of 20 months until I eventually arm wrestled a reluctant Facebook to block Adam Gold for good, just one visible asset out of many, mostly still unknown of a sophisticated Cambridge Analytica style of mind control.

In Parallel to Ohana’s post on that fateful January day last year, Facebook Israel circulated a PR published as-is by the MSM which supported Ohana’s claim of what took place.

Nothing made sense to me about that event.

I knew Facebook’s clear stand and procedures on fake profiles and had no idea why an obvious fake profile (Adam Gold admitted “himself” that “he” is anonymous and wishes to remain so) would be allowed by Facebook to return following a request from a Knesset member from the ruling party. The only way to restore a fake account blocked on Facebook is by going through a validation process that ensures the user uses his real name. That did not take place.

I also knew Facebook inc made it very clear to our Privacy Protection Authority that Facebook Israel is not legally obliged to register, according to our privacy laws, any database with info on Israeli citizens, because Facebook Israel is ONLY responsible for sales and marketing and is completely forbidden (including all its employees) from any access to or dealing with the actual Service (and relevant databases) Facebook provides to Israeli citizens.

Obviously the content of the mentioned chat between Netanyahu’s yes man and one unknown manager in Facebook Israel was a serious breach of a strict and cleverly crafted corporate protocol, a breach which dented Facebook’s critical legal argument, used not only to prevent any regulation, but was also repeatedly argued in its template legal defence to 100% of the lawsuits Facebook got served here.

Adam Gold was not “just” a fake profile that somehow managed to reach the status of being the most popular profile in Facebook Israel with a top political figure lobbying for him to receive unprecedented and unlawful special care from Facebook. There is much more.

I realized after some digging and have documented undeniable evidence to back my claim that Adam Gold reached his lucrative and influential position as the #1 profile aided by thousands other fake profiles which shared each and any one of his posts starting immediately from his day of inception on Facebook, Nov 21, 2016.

In fact, two hours after the anonymous Adam Gold created “his” profile, he uploaded his first of many propaganda and disinformation posts and almost IMMEDIATELY got 400 shares to that first post of his, an unattainable feat for one fresh and anonymous profile, a feat which not many celebrities here accomplish in their best days.

You can read a bit more about the objective and extraordinary documented anomalies relating to Gold’s Profile here. Suffice to know that Team Gold also controlled a large army of other fake profiles (stacked with a homogeneous large crowd of unsuspecting “friends”) which spread Gold’s posts and successfully targeted them to hundreds of thousands of right wing users only, while almost no left wing user on Facebook even heard of him or read any of his posts.

I decided to intervene by forcing myself into this illegal conspiracy between Netanyahu and Facebook, triggering the other side to make unnecessary mistakes as well as take actions I’ve documented which without a shred of a doubt breach numerous inner laws within Facebook as well as the laws of the State of Israel.

Previously I have had 17 years of intensive professional experience doing legal and other due diligence work on publicly traded companies. I can spot a corporate coverup this scale from miles away..

After 2 months of a discrete learning period, I’ve launched my first of many public steps with this March 2, 2018 post in which I’ve tagged the CEO of Facebook Israel. I’ve notified her of my suspicion about Adam Gold, mentioned the chat Ohana claimed to have had with someone in her Company and asked her to look into it and shut down the ultra popular but outright forbidden fake profile. I’ve managed to get just enough eyeballs to cause a curious and smart blogger and journalist to write a piece on Adam Gold and my public post in Haaretz website.

Within 2 weeks Adam Gold was taken down from Facebook, allegedly (I’ll explain later) for the second time. That action by Facebook again made headlines here and Facebook Israel provided a PR detailing why fake profiles are strictly forbidden and that Adam Gold refused to provide his real identity although requested to do so.

I really thought that was the end of it. Boy was I surprised just 24 hours later to see Adam Gold’s profile back from the dead. Nothing has changed except for a new user name for Gold — Sharon Horesh. Not only that, within minutes from Gold’s remarkable revival on Facebook Team Gold made the terrible mistake of dedicating a fresh post specifically to me. Gold claimed “he” was taken down for 24 hours because I’ve managed to spread baseless lies and conspiracy theories about him being a large and unlawful manipulation serving the interests of Netanyahu. Gold also made clear to hundreds of thousands of right wing users — I was a likeable but a very confused individual.

In that post Gold candidly explained how he went back online so quickly and why the name change. He received help from, Sharon Horesh, an Israeli living in California, which sent her ID to Facebook going through the “customary” validation process for fake profiles.

Sharon Horesh tweeted that day that although she had no idea who is behind Adam Gold and although she had no control over the profile and had not posted or written one word on it, she nevertheless chose to validate the “authenticity” of Gold’s profile just so he could continue and express his right for free speech.

I knew back then and there, 15 months ago, that by making this direct reference to me, Team Gold made sure I had all I needed to force Facebook to shut this manipulation down as well as tell all of us it’s true nature and the identity of the culprits behind it.

I’ve read many reports by Facebook concerning elections related manipulations it shut down, that did just that.

So I took my time to study and investigate deeper and document any relevant data, metric and info about Adam Gold while he was still alive and kicking. Then I drafted a lengthy, detailed and convincing libel suit against Facebook (with my entire theory on Gold’s true nature and the mishandling by Facebook) and emailed it late May 2018 letting the recipients know that if I’m not hearing back from them within a couple of days, I’ll be serving my lawsuit to court. That day I also installed a call recording app and just waited for the call.

I did one more thing two weeks before that call

I emailed our Privacy Protection Authority with all what I knew or suspected at that point. They came back quickly and asked to meet me. I had a long meeting with the two most senior people there and they seemed to be convinced that I’m on to something.

They asked me to help them by drafting technical questions concerning Adam Gold and the network of thousands of fake profiles behind him, so they could send Facebook a formal letter from the government to understand whats going on. I did it of course. Facebook, as usual, refused to provide any answers saying the Service and the database is none of their concern and they have no legal right to expect any answers.

My convincing email correspondance with our Privacy Protection Authority as well as their request for my help and the questions I provided them for Facebook is annexed to one of the documents I’ll link at the end.

Back to that call. 2 days after I’ve emailed my draft lawsuit, I got a call from a decent and kind lawyer from HFN the largest firm in Israel speaking on behalf of Facebook Inc and Facebook Ireland. He told me his clients are taking my disturbing claims about a Cambridge Analytica style of manipulation very seriously and that they are investigating my claims and would come back to me with answers as soon as their work is done. Facebook asked me to postpone my lawsuit until then. He assured me that Facebook is going to do the “right thing”.

I agreed to let Facebook take the time to expose this large manipulation with thousands of fake accounts, but had one condition, which was accepted by Facebook on our second call that day.

My condition was that Facebook start their urgent mission to expose the truth by first quickly verifying my indisputable claim that Adam Gold was a fake account that was forbidden on Facebook and then put him to sleep ASAP. This small task should have taken Facebook a couple of hours.

But days have passed and Team Gold was still spreading fake news by unlawfully targeting hundreds of thousands of right wing users in Israel. I’ve started sending Facebook’s respectable but unlucky team of lawyers in HFN emails detailing unpleasant theories I had on what was really going on in Facebook concerning Adam Gold, the connection to Netanyahu and the pressure I assumed he was putting on Facebook which kept Gold’s profile online even after they knew they had a pending lawsuit from me.

I’ve also initiated a decent amount of phone calls with HFN during those weeks (I’ve sent the authorities everything). I was constantly assured that Facebook was not disputing even one claim of mine and that all my emails were translated to English, back to back, and immediately sent to Facebook Inc. HFN could not explain why Gold’s fake profile was still alive.

Late June 2018, after I’ve gathered enough evidence for a homerun, I’ve notified HFN that I’m done waiting and am updating my lawsuit and filing it. Two days later, on June 29, 2018, Gold’s profile was again, allegedly (I still owe you an explanation…) for the third time, taken off Facebook.

I remember thinking back then that had to be it, I won. Facebook has now got to come clean and release a thorough report on the manipulation it stopped, just as it did around the globe for much less efficient and clever illegal manipulations. But I’ve heard nothing from Facebook.

I decided to wait a little more before filing my suit to expose the truth about Gold’s, now gone, fake profile.

On July 15, 2018 a Knesset committee concluded its work on a legislation that would have been the first and small step towards regulating Facebook. It was completely minor, but still a first breach in the wall from Facebook’s vantage point.

It was called “Facebook’s law” and was the product of 2 years of work initiated by Netanyahu’s party and other right wing partners, with his full support and endorsement. The bill was supposed to be voted on and passed 3 days later, on July 18, 2018.

The urgent task to evaporate this law was the responsibility of the most senior figure in Facebook Israel, the one in charge of government relations. At that point Mrs. Ketller already did that demanding job for two years in Facebook Israel. Before joining Facebook she worked closely with Netanyahu as his personal advisor, she also worked in his party’s previous election campaigns. Facebook had only 3 days to get rid of this “nonsense” legislation.

Less than 24 hours later, on July 16, 2018, I was stunned to witness AGAIN the revival of Adam Gold’s fake profile. Team Gold immediately uploaded a post which again seemed to reach EVERY rightwing voter on Facebook.

Gold claimed the 2 weeks shutdown which just ended were the product of pressure on Facebook by our left, Arab loving, deep state judiciary system which “really” controls everything, the same state officials that according to Gold’s previous ranting were also responsible for unlawfully framing Netanyahu in the 3 different investigations concerning bribery and other offences.

That day, I’ve sent a short email to HFN updating them of this fresh and disgusting turn of events and told them I’ll see their irresponsible client in court.

In a separate email I also made clear to HFN that in their shoes I would have refused to represent Facebook in what is obviously turning to be an illegal coverup of an illegal relationship between Facebook and Netanyahu.

I believe that was my last communication with HFN, they haven’t even replied. I learned later on that HFN refused to represent Facebook against me and made their exit from my case.

Two days after Gold’s third revival, on July 18, 2018, Netanyahu repaid the favor to Facebook by making good to his side of this election bribe. He surprised all his coalition partners by evaporating Facebook’s Law and the scheduled vote which was supposed to take place just hours later. That day a prominent member in Netanyahu’s coalition publicly suggested Netanyahu served the interests of Facebook, not Israel’s. I concur.

I believe HFN’s final involvement in this scandal was to quickly convince Facebook that Adam Gold must be put to sleep immediately and for good. That happened on July 19, 2018, a day after Netanyahu sinked Facebook’s Law.

Netanyahu must have been furious so Facebook had to sweeten the blow by shutting down on the exact same day another popular fake profile, this time from the left, a profile that did a good job at attacking Netanyahu for years.

That popular and fake profile, Ishton, which was the subject of a lawsuit against Facebook launched a few months before by one of Netanyahu’s supporters. Ishton did not show any signs of being part of an organized manipulation like Gold. In fact Ishton’s “anonymous” user was actually not really anonymous to many who knew his real identity.

The stage was all set for me to take Facebook to court.

Meanwhile Facebook turned to Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal, the second largest firm in Israel to replace HFN. Meitar showed less reservations about representing Facebook and taking a critical part in the illegal coverup that followed.

I’ve filed my libel suit against Facebook on August 2018 and waited to get their written defence. Facebook did the best to postpone the moment but finally on November 14, 2018 Facebook filed its defence statement to court.

I wasn’t surprised to learn Facebook didn’t deny even one claim I made about Adam Gold, about the dangerous manipulation and about the direct connection it had to Netanyahu. You see, maintaining the plausible deniability status for Facebook’s board of directors on this scandal did not allow any knowledge of this affair to be shared with the actual teams in Facebook tasked with the attrition war against these sort of manipulations.

So Facebook’s written defence was to claim complete ignorance concerning any fact or claim I made in my lawsuit. Apparently Facebook’s new narrative, completely contradicting HFN’s statements to me on Facebook’s behalf just months before, was to claim they had checked nothing and are bent on not doing so. Facebook also claimed I was harassing them and that they are not responsible for the alleged defamation post against me by Gold’s anonymous profile.

I’ve appealed on January 27, 2019 to our Central Elections Committee against Facebook, Netanyahu, Ohana and two exemplary prominent journalists who avoided me for months. I’ve asked the Supreme Justice heading out election committee to do whatever he can to stop the election bribe I’ve detailed and proved in my appeal.

Netanyahu and Ohana replied and denied everything.

So did Facebook in this reply Meitar signed and filed on its behalf.

However there was a problem with Facebook’s denial, Meitar “forgot” to accompany the filing with the mandatory affidavit from a manager in Facebook supporting Facebook’s reply to my claims.

I’ve alerted the judge and Facebook was forced to provide two weeks later the missing English affidavit signed by the Policy Manager for Content at Facebook Ireland.

Again, I wasn’t surprised to see the affidavit was actually a fake affidavit. Facebook’s unlucky manager had to completely leave out of his affidavit any mention of the claims I made in my appeal.

Meitar, the second largest firm in Israel, which claimed to represent Facebook inc and Facebook Ireland, was unable to locate a manager in Facebook that would agree to deny my claims concerning the manipulation behind Adam Gold and the election bribe between Facebook and Netanyahu.

The following is an excerpt from Facebook’s affidavit. The reference to an “error” by Facebook in reviving (for the third time) Gold’s profile just before Netanyahu sinked a regulation against Facebook is of course a lie as it would be inconceivable to believe that fixing that “error” happened to take place on the exact day Facebook took down one of the most popular profiles on Facebook which criticised Netanyahu and was the subject of a lawsuit against Facebook initiated by a supporter of Netanyahu.

There is more, much more, but that would require a book and not a piece on Medium.

Three months ago I’ve appealed to our High Court of Justice and demanded the AG launches an investigation. That investigation was launched a month ago, I got a formal letter from our AG confirming this.

Now I’m afraid the Israeli’s media silence on this scandal allows for a coverup.

The undeniable reality can’t be clearer at this point. There is a massive and ongoing election bribe taking place between Facebook and Netanyahu. They have also muted somehow our entire mainstream media from covering this scandal.

Facebook and Netanyahu are destroying our democracy and the future existence of the State Of Israel.

The minute the directors of Facebook would lose their current legal armor of plausible deniability for what took place in Israel the past 3 years, its game over.

Facebook would have to make a complete u-turn to save itself and would frame the relevant managers in Israel and elsewhere who cooperated with Netanyahu in this election bribe and illegal coverup still in motion today. Facebook would have to bury Netanyahu to try and exit this scandal alive.

I have seen too much cluelessness to leave this case only to our AG and his staff just because I’ve got their word that they are investigating my claims these days. Mind you, their newly appointed minister, Amir Ohana, has a major role in this case of mine.

I’m counting on you to squash Facebook’s plausible deniability and provide us all some well rewarded answers. Do share.

** UPDATE ***

I got today a letter from our AG saying he would not probe this matter further. I plan to appeal against his decision to our High Court of Justice within days.

Itai Leshem

Written by

Entrepreneur & lawyer but busy making other plans. Obsessive when the need arises. Your typical whistle-blower.

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