Habayit Hayehudi paid party leader Naftali Bennett’s adviser Moshe Klughaft 1.2 million shekels ($315,000) to run its election campaign, sources said.
Klughaft denied this. “Unfortunately, I did not make any such money. That’s rubbish,” he said. Habayit Hayehudi did not give any response.
Klughaft, 34, from Givat Shmuel, has been managing Bennett’s strategy and campaigns ever since the latter got into politics. The two met when Bennett, then director-general of the Yesha Council, started the My Israel Facebook page in 2010. Klughaft was hired to do PR for the project.
In 2012, Klughaft managed Bennett’s campaign to head Habayit Hayehudi, in which he beat out Zevulun Orlev. Afterwards, he managed Bennett’s Knesset election campaign. Klughaft then became Bennett’s chief adviser, while maintaining his other business pursuits, including overseeing strategy for the taxi company Uber.
Klughaft also managed the party’s campaign in the last election, which ended with a poor showing of eight Knesset seats. Along with other campaign advisers, he was responsible for bringing in soccer legend Eli Ohana, a fiasco from which the party never fully recovered. Nonetheless, Klughaft’s standing in the party has improved now that Shalom Shlomo announced he would quit as chief of staff before Bennett takes over as education minister.
Last week, Klughaft received his wages for the campaign – two checks in the sum of NIS 590,000 each. Party activists were said to be stunned by the amount. The party’s campaign was based on a projection of winning 14 Knesset seats, and it has been left with a budget shortfall of millions of shekels, while it carries previous debts as well. Maariv reports that it has yet to pay off all its debts from the October 2013 municipal elections. Since the March national election, party secretary Nir Orbach has announced massive budget cuts.
Klughaft responds: “Unfortunately, I did not make any such money. That’s rubbish.” Habayit Hayehudi did not give any response.
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