Bennett again working with controversial political strategist Moshe Klughaft

Political adviser credited with bringing prime minister to prominence when he first entered politics but has since been accused of running campaigns that demonize the left

Political adviser Moshe Klughaft (L) with then-Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett in 2013 (Eric Sultan/
Political adviser Moshe Klughaft (L) with then-Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett in 2013 (Eric Sultan/

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is again using the services of controversial political strategist Moshe Klughaft, his office said Sunday.

Klughaft, who managed Bennett’s leadership bid of the Jewish Home party and its subsequent election campaigns in 2013 and 2015, will be employed by Yamina, Bennett’s current party, and not by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Walla news site, quoting sources close to Bennett, said that Klughaft would be assisting Bennett in boosting his standing with the public and the media.

Klughaft, who has worked with a number of right-wing groups and parties, including for former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has drawn the ire of many for demonizing the left.

Klughaft was the architect of campaigns deriding the New Israel Fund as a subversive force and a 2016 campaign “outing” Israeli artists as “foreign agent moles” over their ties with left-wing groups, an initiative he later said he regretted.

Across the political aisle, he also worked with former Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit on his failed Labor leadership bid, highlighting the entrepreneur’s brash style in a series of campaign videos. One widely mocked clip, which saw him yell “Give me back my state, dammit!” earned a parody on “Eretz Nehederet,” Israel’s “Saturday Night Live.”

He also advised Environment Minister Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing Meretz party in her 2018 bid for party leader, a move that forced Zandberg to apologize after she lied about using his services.

In recent years Klughaft has largely worked overseas on political campaigns, including becoming embroiled in a dispute with exiled former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who Klughaft accused of antisemitism.

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