Attracting new voters in English will be just as important as Hebrew and Russian
for Yisrael Beytenu in the next general election, party chairman Avigdor
Liberman said recently.
Liberman asked his English-language spokesman and
close adviser Ashley Perry, who made aliya from England in 2001, to leave the
Foreign Ministry and serve as Yisrael Beytenu’s deputy communications
Besides assisting in Hebrew communications efforts, Perry runs
the party’s Twitter account, its Facebook page with 2,400 likes and an
English-language website that lists the party’s accomplishments.
other parties, whose English campaigns are only formed immediately before an
election or are disconnected from the party administration, Yisrael Beytenu has
Perry in charge of English-speaking volunteer campaign teams in 30 branches
around the country.
“We see momentum and growing support in
English-speaking communities, including many people who used to vote Likud or who
backed religious- Zionist parties and have seen over time that Liberman is not
anti-religious,” said Perry, whose father, Woolf Perry, was an adviser to former
prime minister Levi Eshkol and former president Zalman Shazar.
parties are considering fielding an immigrant from an English-speaking country
as a Knesset candidate in the next election. Perry said it was too soon to say
whether Yisrael Beytenu would as well.
“Any potential Anglo candidate can
present themselves to the party committee that drafts our Knesset list,” Perry
“Serious candidates will be seriously considered and judged on
their merits. We’re not looking for a token Anglo.”
Perry said that while
putting an Anglo candidate on a party’s list shows a party cares about votes of
immigrants from English- speaking countries, Liberman asking him to work for the
party shows he cares about the issues that matter to them.
Yisrael Beytenu will stress in trying to draft support from English speakers
include electoral reform, helping immigrants and improving Israel’s public
diplomacy. Yisrael Beytenu supports an American presidential system that would
make it easier to govern.
Perry credited the party’s Immigrant Absorption
Minister Sofa Landver with solving a crisis for olim from English-speaking
countries, which was created when the Jewish Agency stopped funding free
university education for them.
In public diplomacy, Perry was behind
YouTube videos in which the party’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon
explained key issues in Israel’s foreign policy. He also encouraged Ayalon to
spearhead campaigns for a moment of silence for victims of the 1972 Munich
Olympics massacre and on behalf of Jewish refugees from Arab
“Instead of talking about what we will give up in the diplomatic
process, we are emphasizing Jewish rights and justice,” Perry said.