Lapid hires winning spokeswoman

Slumping candidate enlists help of Nilly Richman, all but one of whose clients has emerged victorious.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
March 15, 2012 03:19
2 minute read.
Yair Lapid speaks at a business conference in Eila

Yair Lapid speaks at a business conference in Eilat 390. (photo credit: Ezra Levi)

In an effort to stymie his downfall in the polls, journalist- turned-politician Yair Lapid hired a spokeswoman on Wednesday who has a history of leading candidates to victory.

Nilly Richman, 32, is not a household name in Israel, because she refuses to give interviews and toot her own horn. But every client she has had except one emerged victorious.

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Richman, who has degrees in communication and political science from the Hebrew University, started out as the spokeswoman for Shaul Mofaz when he ran for leader of the Likud in 2005. When he quit the race to join Kadima, she became spokeswoman for the Pensioners Party, which at the time no one gave a chance of entering the Knesset.

With Richman as their voice, the Pensioners won seven seats, getting most of their votes from young people who saw them as a protest vote.

Richman then was hired by a group of IDF reservists protesting the handling of the Second Lebanon War, who helped bring down then-defense minister Amir Peretz and then-prime minister Ehud Olmert.

In her only electoral failure, Richman was spokeswoman for MK Ami Ayalon in his unsuccessful race for leader of Labor against Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Richman rebounded as Likud spokeswoman in the 2009 race when the party rose from 12 seats to 27. She continued to work for Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Likud faction chairman Ze’ev Elkin.

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich and Meretz head Zehava Gal-On were Richman’s last two bosses. Richman helped lead both women to victory, although she left Yacimovich early because she had a baby.

After Passover next month, Richman will officially start working for Lapid, who has been criticized for making many mistakes since he entered politics two months ago at a time a consensus of political analysts and strategists considered premature.

Since then, Lapid has only fallen in the polls as he avoided the press and communicated to the public almost exclusively through Facebook.

Lapid faced more criticism on Wednesday when he rejected calls from war victims’ organizations and politicians to give up a post as emcee of a memorial ceremony on Remembrance Day next month.

“Having a politician like Lapid host the event disgraces the victims,” Kadima MK Shlomo Molla said.

In response, Lapid wrote on his Facebook page that he founded the event and could emcee it without letting politics interfere.


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