American Political Consultants Also Won and Lost in Israel’s Election

After November, Six Jewish Consultants Switched Their Focus

High Marks: American political consultant Mark Mellman is credited with engineering Yair Lapid’s strong showing in Israel’s election.
Nathan Guttman
High Marks: American political consultant Mark Mellman is credited with engineering Yair Lapid’s strong showing in Israel’s election.

By Nathan Guttman

Published January 31, 2013, issue of February 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

“It will be easier to win with a united right-wing bloc,” he said in a rare interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News this past October. He predicted that the new party would win 42 seats, a far cry from the 31 seats it ended up with. Nevertheless, many analysts believe that without the merger, the Likud could have come in as the second-largest party, paving the way for Lapid to become prime minister and sending Netanyahu to the opposition.

For Israel’s struggling Labor Party, the choice of Greenberg as an outside adviser came as no surprise. He had worked with the party for more than a decade. The results were mixed. Labor, headed now by Shelley Yachimovich, got 15 seats; this was more than it had in the outgoing Knesset, but not enough to help the party regain its status as one of Israel’s two major political powers.

The toughest task, however, faced Democratic consultant Eichenbaum, who worked with Kadima, led by Shaul Mofaz. The party was handicapped by four years in the opposition and by internal fighting that had led Tzipi Livni, one of its stars, to break off and form a new party.

“We went into this election with nothing,” Eichenbaum said in a January 28 panel discussion with Mellman and Gerstein, organized by the Washington DC Jewish community center. “There was no Kadima brand to hang on to.”

When the vote count was complete, it appeared that Kadima just made it, passing the minimum threshold. With two seats, it will be the smallest party in the Knesset. Eichenbaum said the lesson he took back from working with Kadima was how difficult it was, in Israel’s multi-party system, to unify the pro-peace camp. “I saw how easy it is for the left to do the circular firing squad,” he said.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter @nathanguttman

This story was amended on February 20 to reflect the fact that Bill Knapp did not work on the 2013 election for Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Beiteinu coalition.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.