Yisrael Beiteinu reaches across an ocean for support
The final chord of the Israel Beiteinu campaign comes from New York. A Jewish-Russian organization that supports Avigdor Lieberman has found a unique way to boost support for its candidate: You can get a free telephone calling card to Israel, on one condition - you have to listen to a brief taped speech explaining why you should vote for Lieberman. Those behind the campaign believe that the emigrants to America will use the card to call their brethren in Israel and urge them to vote for "their" candidate. Some 6,000 calls from New York have already been made using the card.
Other than this, the Lieberman campaign has been gimmick-free, sticking to a few messages and repeating them consistently. The campaign will also be remembered for its Nyet-Nyet-Da slogan, which has already become a hallmark of the 2006 elections.
The party appealed to Russian speakers with radio spots broadcast on the foreign languages station and a special Internet campaign. One on-line spot presented Lieberman as a daring ship captain who saves a vessel on stormy seas (Israel), after failed attempts to navigate it by Ehud Olmert, Benjamin Netanyahu and Amir Peretz, whose complexion was darkened in the film.
Visitors to the Web site are exposed to the party's platform and a biography of Lieberman, who is depicted as the quintessential self-made man of the American Dream, according to Sonia Vasilev, the party's strategic adviser on the Russian electorate. The site has registered 18,000 hits daily.
Based on internal polls, the party expects to get 45 percent of Russian-speaking votes, enough for nine Knesset seats.