'Yemina' Party   election campaign

Get to know the strategic moves, public positioning efforts, fateful decisions, special tactics, and behind-the-scenes secrets that managed to turn the 'Yemina' Party into an influential party in Israel, and paved the way for its leader, Naftali Bennett, to become Israeli Prime Minister

First thing first

Barak Hershkovitz, founder and co-CEO of Griever-Hershkovitz, led Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's election campaign, when Bennett was a member of the opposition in the Knesset. Тhe campaign constructed an image for Bennett that enabled him to run for prime minister. In addition, it implemented a complex strategy that positioned Bennett and his party outside the clear political camps of right and left, which allowed him to tip the scale between the parties and eventually occupy the chair of prime minister.

As in every political campaign that we managed in the past, we started with a series of in-depth studies. The studies identified the relative advantages of the candidate and his position vis-à-vis other candidates. It analyzed public perceptions of the "Bennett" and "Yamina" (Bennett's party) brands, the target audiences and the topics of interest to them, and more.

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The campaign was conducted during the fourth consecutive elections in the State of Israel, following two years in which the voters failed to deliver a political verdict and the country was trapped in a loop that prevented proper functioning of the government. We realized that to allow Bennett, as a national leader, to pull Israel out of the loop and become a candidate for prime minister, we must resist public and media pressure seeking to identify us with one of the two political blocs. We chose a strategy of sticking with a third way and remaining a party that is not automatically identified with one of the blocs. This complex public mediation strategy exacts a heavy political cost because we knew for certain that if we clearly declared to be part of one of the blocs that divided the political discourse, we would receive more votes.

As part of this strategy, precisely at the moment when all the media dealt almost exclusively with the question whether or not Bennett would join (former prime minister) Netanyahu's government, we decided to publish an ambitious, unusual economic program with the strange and memorable name “The Singapore Plan.” The purpose of the program, in addition to publicizing Bennett's economic and social worldview in a clear and simple way, was to allow Bennett and the other candidates of the party to spend as much screen time as possible in explanations about the program with the unusual name, instead of this screen time being spent on answering the questions about whether we would be part of the Netanyahu government or not—questions that were strategically less convenient for us.

No livelihood -

not interesting.

We hoped that the plan would incite a lot of interest, and gave it an intriguing name. We also made sure to provoke public ideological, value-driven disputes around it, ​​with rivals from the political left. We knew that any public criticism of the plan would allow Bennett and the other candidates to discuss it in the media, in meetings with voters, and on social media,  instead of being dragged into talking about issues we were less comfortable with.

To this end, we devised a set of Singapore Plan-related messages around issues that we have identified as strengths of candidate Bennett, and also issues that are important to our potential voters, the swing voters.

 

Among others, we found that Bennett was perceived as more "caring" than other Israeli leaders. This makes sense: after the COVID-19 crisis, when the Israeli government conducted itself in a chaotic and disconnected manner, Bennett embarked on a "livelihood campaign," visiting business owners and citizens affected by the crisis almost daily, and sharing with them the solutions he formulated with experts to rescue citizens from the economic and health crisis.

 

We wrapped the socio-economic Singapore Plan in a set of messages emphasizing  the caring side of Bennett and of the Yamina party, and the benefits of the program to the common citizen.

Mr. Prime Minister

Another strategic direction we adopted was to turn a candidate whose public image was not authoritative enough and who was presented in parody TV shows (e.g., the popular Eretz Nehederet) as childish, into a leader whom the public could see as prime minister.

 

To implement this line, we used various tactics, from bolstering all the plans we presented to the public with an array of expert opinions to projecting a prime ministerial image. For example, we built a recording studio at election headquarters with a library and a desk that looked like a prime minister's office. From there, we broadcast videos and Bennett’s statements to the public.

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We continued to work with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett after the election, throughout the coalition negotiations to form a government.  We provided strategic consulting, media consulting to him and to the party, writing several key speeches delivered to the nation, coordinating the key strategic messages that were important to him, and facilitating the access of the public to the coalition-building process after two years of political chaos.