Political strategist quits Netanyahu campaign days after announcement he would join

Moshe Klughaft says he was told of delay in appointment due to ‘opposition from outside elements’ – in apparent reference to Netanyahu’s son Yair

Former Jewish Home party strategist Moshe Klughaft. (Screen capture: Hadashot)
Former Jewish Home party strategist Moshe Klughaft. (Screen capture: Hadashot)

A prominent political strategist said Tuesday he will forgo his appointment as a campaign adviser to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, just days after being tapped for the post, due to apparent opposition by the former prime minister’s son.

On Sunday, a spokesman for Netanyahu announced that Moshe Klughaft would serve as a special adviser to the Likud leader for the November 1 election. Klughaft has previously worked with Netanyahu, as well as with ex-premier Naftali Bennett and Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg when she headed the left-wing Meretz party.

According to Klughaft, he was informed “half a day later” of “opposition from outside elements and that the appointment will be delayed.”

“I won’t get into fights and I’m giving up the post before even starting,” he said in a statement posted to his Instagram account, without elaborating.

In response, Likud issued a statement thanking Klughaft and wishing him success.

Klughaft did not specify who opposed his appointment, but Hebrew media reports, including on Channel 12, Walla news and others, indicated he was referring to Yair Netanyahu, the Likud leader’s son who is influential with his father. According to several of the reports, Yair’s opposition came after a concert Saturday at which Klughaft had a friendly talk backstage with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, one of Netanyahu’s top political rivals.

Yair Netanyahu is known for his vocal support of his father on social media and barbs directed at critics of the former prime minister, embroiling him in several libel suits.

Yair Netanyahu is greeted by supporters as he arrives at the Tel Aviv District Court on April 24, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Polling has consistently shown Likud as the largest party coming out of the next election, but lacking a parliamentary majority together with its right-wing religious allies, an outcome in the November 1 vote that could prolong Israel’s years-long political gridlock.

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