Netanyahu, new Leftist party bring onboard Obama strategists
Netanyahu hires hi-tech executive Eli Ayalon as his campaign chairman over the weekend.
Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu, who in the past hired American Republican strategists to help his campaigns, crossed the line last week by hiring two consultants who worked with US President-elect Barak Obama.
Bill Knapp and Josh Isay were in charge of strategy for several states in Obama's campaign after working in the past for Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman and New York politicians Michael Bloomberg, Charles Schumer and Mario Cuomo.
The two came to Israel for a few days last week and worked on political strategy with Netanyahu and his campaign team. They are expected to return ahead of the February 10 general election.
"Both of them are good on both a personal and professional level," said Netanyahu adviser Ron Dermer, who met with them in Washington where he served as Israel's economic attachÃ©. "The point was to have them look at the research and get a clear strategy for moving forward, which you will see."
Netanyahu also hired hi-tech executive Eli Ayalon as his campaign chairman over the weekend. To join the campaign, Ayalon, 65, took leave from his job as chief executive officer of the DSP group, which develops and markets digital signal processing cores.
"Bibi wanted to bring in someone who knew how to manage," Dermer said. "Ayalon sees this as reserve duty; for him to serve the country," he added.
The new Left-wing party being formed together with Meretz has also brought in strategists who worked on behalf of Obama. David Fenton and Tom Mazzei strategized and mobilized the Internet against Republican presidential candidate John McCain in their work with Moveon.org, a well-known citizens' action organization in the US.
Fenton and Mazzei conducted workshops for the leaders of the new party on how to mobilize the Internet to fundraise and help the campaign. Netanyahu's campaign opened up a Web site modeled after Obama's for the same purposes.