Micah Lakin-Avni’s father was one of three people who were murdered in a terror attack in the East Talpiot in Jerusalem on October 13, 2015 at the height of the wave of terror.
Since his father was killed, Avni has waged a legal campaign against Facebook in a quest to wash out the incitement to terror that has flooded its virtual walls.
The new non-profit organization, which was established at the behest of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), who also serves as minister of strategic affairs and information.
The most recent weapon in the ministry’s arsenal against BDS will operate in the form of a public benefit company and will be charged with the task of assisting Israel in its public relations efforts and countering attempts to tarnish the country’s name on the international stage and calls to impose boycotts.
The group will be funded by the government, which has so far pumped NIS 128 million into its coffers. Jewish philanthropists in the Diaspora are also expected to fund the project, which is expected to boost its overall budget to ballpark figure of between NIS 256 million and NIS 512 million.
Both the lower and upper end of the estimate would constitute an unprecedented investment in any organization instituted to fight the BDS.
A well-known figure in the capital market world, Avni will lead the organization on a voluntary basis. He is the founder and CEO of the Peninsula company, which provides credit to small and medium-sized businesses in Israel. He also serves as the chairman of an Israeli credit card association.
Richard Lakin, the 76-year-old American Israeli, was murdered in a brutal attack when two Palestinian terrorists—Baha Aliyan, 22, and Bilal Ranem, 23, both from Jabel Mukaber—boarded the line 78 Egged bus on Olei HaGardom Street in East Talpiot, a neighborhood also known as Armon HaNatziv, one armed with a gun and the other with a knife.
Beginning their bloodletting as the bus was still traveling, three died of their wounds and ten others were wounded. Haim Haviv, 78, and Alon Govberg, 51 were also killed in the attacks.
Immediately after the massacre, Avni began his personal struggle against incitement on social media, publishing articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal on the subject.
Avni also filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against Facebook for enabling Hamas, a terror organization, to utilize its network and for enabling incitement to terror. Following the legal battle, all pages affiliated with Hamas and its leaders were removed from the social media giant.
“Our enemies understand that they can’t beat us militarily so they try to conduct a war against us using calls for boycotts and delegitimization,” Avni said on Wednesday. “I welcome the initiative of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs as a model of cooperation between the Jewish people in the Diaspora and the Israeli government.”