Israeli campaign adviser assists party in Muslim Kosovo

The party leader showed interest in a government that coexists with the Jewish religion.

Moshe Klughaft (second from left) on the campaign trail with the New Kosovo Alliance. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Moshe Klughaft (second from left) on the campaign trail with the New Kosovo Alliance.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Moshe Klughaft, who has conducted election campaigns for the right-wing Bayit Yehudi party, recently added a campaign in Kosovo, a majority-Muslim country, to his résumé.
Also known for successful campaigns in Romania and Austria, Klughaft was asked by the New Kosovo Alliance, a liberal democratic party, to conduct its campaign in the local elections that took place across that country this month.
Kosovo is a secular state with a population that is 95% Muslim, but according to the conflict-resolution NGO International Crisis Group, its citizens define their national identity more through language than religion and have a relaxed approach toward Islamic observance.
The country declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognized by 111 countries around the world, although not yet by Israel.
During the campaign, Klughaft took time to discover the small Jewish heritage of Kosovo where approximately 550 Jews lived before World War II.
Klughaft visited the Jewish cemetery, where he said kaddish next to the gravestones, and also was in touch with a Jew still living in Kosovo who contacted him for help in getting a song about Holocaust survivors from the country broadcast on national television.
The adviser conducted a provocative campaign for the New Kosovo Alliance, including so-called nightly “guerrilla operations” in which official-looking signs were erected stating that “a hospital will be built here” or “A school will be built here.” The party, in fact, was fined for these operations.
It also staged a press conference at the foot of the government building where it announced its intention to move the government from the capital city Pristina and house students there, and party members dressed up as rubbish collectors to underline refuse-collection problems.
Klughaft, who did not disclose his presence in Kosovo for the two months he was working there, told The Jerusalem Post the campaign was “proof that political campaigns can connect and not just divide.
“If only we could bring about successful coexistence between Jews and Muslims like we have had in Kosovo. It is a great country with fantastic people and a great future ahead of it.”