Shinui Sets Its Sights on Israel's Russian Nouveau Bourgeoisie'

The Shinui campaign to lure voters away from the immigrant parties is to revolve around around two main axes.Firstly, Shinui will claim that the immigrants are the main victims of religious coercion in the country, and secondly, it will portray itself as the representative of the middle class, hoping that many immigrants from the former Soviet Union have aspirations to be part of that socio-economic stratum.

The party's Russian-language campaign was unveiled at a press conference yesterday, attended by party chairman MK Yosef Lapid, and the head of the party's Russian committee, MK Victor Brailovsky. The party's campaign broadcasts in the Russian language, which will air on television and radio, will feature Lapid, Brailovsky, and Ya'akov Kedmi, former head of the Nativ communications office.

In the 1999 elections, Kedmi assisted then prime ministerial candidate Ehud Barak in garnering the support of the immigrant sector. Three weeks ago, Kedmi took part in the Labor party's campaign meeting on new immigrants, headed by Shimon Peres.

Yesterday, he told Ha'aretz that the breakdown in the Labor Party cannot be rectified in the month prior to elections, and in the situation that has ensued, "Shinui is the most suitable option for new immigrants."

Kedmi's recruitment to Shinui, which he has not officially joined, is considered a substantial boost for the party, due to his standing among the immigrant population.

Prior to launching the campaign in Russian, Lapid said, "The immigrant population has joined the bourgeoisie." According to Lapid, the doctor who worked in the sanitation industry after immigrating to Israel, is now employed again as a bourgeoisie doctor, and fears increased taxation and unemployment.

"We will approach such an immigrant and promise him that his status will remain intact, just as we took it upon ourselves to protect the middle class, which was neglected by Israeli governments for two generations," Lapid said.

Based on the trend by which new immigrants have joined Shinui, sources in the party predict that they will be able to attain four mandates from this sector.

Recently, Shinui garnered first place in mock-elections held at Shevah high school in Tel Aviv, where most of the students are immigrants from the former Soviet Union.