Netanyahu employs Trump strategist while Gantz goes with Obama's

Benenson will replace longtime Yesh Atid strategist Mark Mellman, who worked with Blue and White in the April election.

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July 10, 2019 07:54
1 minute read.
Netanyahu employs Trump strategist while Gantz goes with Obama's

U.S. President Barack Obama congratulates his daughter Malia on her birthday during the Independence Day celebration at the White House in Washington U.S., July 4, 2016.. (photo credit: YURI GRIPAS / REUTERS)

US President Donald Trump’s pollster John McLaughlin has been back in Israel recently to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepare for the September 17 election, sources close to the prime minister revealed exclusively to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

McLaughlin was in the country the last time Israelis went to the polls on April 9, and warned Netanyahu in a video released to social media on the eve of the election that “we are losing the race.”

Former Obama political strategist Joel Benenson is set to work for Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s campaign, and is due to arrive in Israel next month, according to Maariv.

Benenson will replace longtime Yesh Atid strategist Mark Mellman, who worked with Blue and White in the April election. Mellman decided to sit out the current race because he is busy running Democratic Majority for Israel, an organization that works to maintain and strengthen support for Israel among Democratic leaders, including presidential and congressional candidates.

Gantz and his Israeli campaign strategist Israel Bachar flew to Washington on June 18 for meetings with veteran American political strategists, and Gantz chose Benenson.

“Benny chose Joel because he ran Obama’s positive campaign, and Benny wants to run a positive campaign,” said Bachar, who will be working closely with Benenson.

Asked if the strategy would have former prime minister Ehud Barak do the mudslinging while Gantz stays clean, Bachar said that Barak does not have much support and may end up not running.

He said Blue and White will maintain its strategy from the April election of trying to win the most seats. He said that the party could also lead the largest bloc, because Netanyahu no longer has the support of Yisrael Beytenu.

Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said that without Benenson, Obama “might not [have been] in the White House.”

The Benenson Strategy Group currently represents McDonald’s, Microsoft, the Anti-Defamation League and the Schusterman Family Foundation, as well as senators Cory Booker, Bob Menendez, Chris Coons and Tim Kaine.

“Americans have plenty of experience with political campaigns, so they offer another perspective,” Bachar said.

Yisrael Beytenu officials said that they are not being advised by longtime American strategist George Birnbaum in this election.


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