Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will serve as chief strategist for his party's election campaign instead of hiring external experts, the Israeli daily Israel Hayom reported Thursday.
According to the report, Netanyahu has divided the campaign into two parts. In the first, the campaign will engage only in the corruption investigations against Netanyahu, in an attempt to delegitimize the expected decision by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit to indict him. In the second part of the campaign, which will take place after the indictment is served and until Election Day, Netanyahu will try to turn the election into a vote of confidence in his leadership.
Netanyahu laid out his strategy in meetings held in the Likud headquarters.
According to Israel Hayom, Netanyahu wants to ensure that when the attorney general decision is published, which is expected to take place next month, its consequences are minimized as much as possible so that it doesn’t create a dramatic turning point for the campaign.
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At the same time, the prime minister is expected to continue trying to sell the Israeli public on the message that you can’t have a bribe without money and to remind the public that two of the cases against him are not about money.
Appointing himself as chief campaign strategist is part of Netanyahu's attempt to keep his campaign headquarters to a small group of confidants. The years of criminal investigations have driven away his most loved friends and trusted aides. The three confidants from his 2015 campaign - Ari Harow, Nir Hefetz and Shlomo Filber – have turned state's evidence. His lawyers, Jacob Weinroth and Yaakov Neeman, whom he loved with all his heart and trusted with everything, have passed away. Billionaires Arnon Milchan, James Packer and Sheldon Adelson, and his private lawyer and cousin David Shimron, will never speak to him again.