Jan 20, 2021 - World

Lincoln Project founders join campaign against Netanyahu in Israel

Netanyahu campaigns last March. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty

Prime Minister Netanyahu and his main rival, Gideon Saar, will both have Republican strategists running their campaigns ahead of the elections on March 23.

Why it matters: The competition between Netanyahu and Saar’s American advisers will be an extension of the rivalry inside the Republican Party between the pro-Trump and "never Trump" camps. 

Driving the news: Saar recruited Republican consultants Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, Stuart Stevens and Reed Galen, whose Lincoln Project aimed to push Republican voters away from Donald Trump.

  • They'll now attempt to push Israeli right-wing voters away from Netanyahu to the New Hope party founded by Saar, who left Likud over his rivalry with Netanyahu.
  • The news was first reported by Israel’s Channel 12 and confirmed to me by one of Saar's aides.
  • The state of play: Saar has had limited success so far. Polls show his party with 15 seats vs. 30 for Netanyahu and Likud.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, appointed former Breitbart Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein to run his election campaign. Klein, who has been advising Netanyahu for the last year, worked closely with Steve Bannon during Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

  • Netanyahu will also continue working with Trump’s pollster, John McLaughlin.
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