Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman’s No. 2 in Yisrael Beytenu, Yair
Shamir, unleashed an attack on Bayit Yehudi’s efforts to attract English-speaking
voters Tuesday, saying that Yisrael Beytenu was the only party with a serious
track record of working on behalf of immigrants from English-speaking
Shamir spoke a day after Bayit Yehudi released a video in
English featuring party chairman Naftali Bennett and other candidates speaking
in English to potential voters.
“We deal with issues affecting Anglo
immigrants all year long and not just for a campaign,” Shamir said. “There is a
difference between a campaign for elections and a party that has aliya as one of
its main objectives, just like there is a difference between boys and
“There are those who just make a video clip to earn some votes for
elections. Our commitment is much deeper than that,” he
Shamir has personally held events for English-speaking voters in
Jerusalem and Ra’anana, he spoke in Modi’in Tuesday night and he will be in
Netanya next week.
Yisrael Beytenu candidates Uzi Landau and David Rotem
are also holding English campaign events.
Noticeably absent from the
campaign circuit is former foreign minister Danny Ayalon, who starred in Yisrael
Beytenu’s English campaign events in 2009 but was unceremoniously dropped from
the party’s list by Liberman.
“Anglo immigrants are great audiences,”
Shamir said. “They are good listeners, they are very polite, and you can have
civilized discussions with them in the question and answer period. They give you
a feeling they are able to be persuaded.”
Shamir has run a nonprofit
organization that helps immigrants and he has strong ties to Nefesh B’Nefesh,
the organization that brings immigrants to Israel from North America. He also
understands French and has spoken at events for immigrants from
Asked what he tells those who question the cleanliness of a party
led by a man soon to be indicted, Shamir said he had full confidence that
justice would be served and Liberman would be found innocent in the Belarus
He mocked the State Attorney’s Office for deciding not
to indict him in the straw companies case.
“They have been after him
since 1996, and he has never been given a chance to respond to the allegations
against him,” Shamir said. “People think he took millions [from straw
companies], which is b******t. They didn’t even have enough evidence to
indict him. I empathize with him.”
He continued: “Now 40 days before the
election, they indict him on something so minor. Come on, give me a break.
Someone obviously has an agenda against him.”