MEET THE STRATEGIC POLITICAL ADVISERS WHO ARE INFLUENCING ISRAEL’S ELECTIONS
They aren’t household names in Israel and certainly not abroad, but these advisers of top politicians are the big factors behind the scenes.
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The word is said to come from the Native American practice of dancing to encourage the gods to send rain needed to grow crops.
Nowadays, that dance is done by movers and shakers behind the scenes who help top politicians grow their political support by planting the right ideas and strategies.
The word tends to be used for advisers who purposely keep a low profile, both despite their success and because of it. You won’t find too much about them if you search for them on the Internet, but they are well-known to the political leaders who depend on their advice and are awed or destroyed by them.
They are the unsung heroes and villains of the April 9 election, which with all due respect to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, would undoubtedly look very different were it not for their hard work.
Most of them refused to be interviewed for this article, not out of disrespect and not because they are genuinely extremely busy ahead of an election, but due to well-thought-out strategy to keep their bosses in the limelight and themselves in the dark.
The following are among the most successful of Israel’s political rainmakers.
Tal Alexandrovich Segev, 45,
Benny Gantz’s strategist
Before entering politics, Gantz met with many campaign strategists before deciding to hire the firm of Ben-Horin and Alexandrovich, whose CEOs Tal Alexandrovich Segev and Itay Ben Horin have been running his campaign.
Alexandrovich Segev was born and raised in Tel Aviv and has been in the media and communications business for 21 years. She started off as a soldier in the military reporters’ section of the IDF Spokesman’s Unit, then worked at the Labor and Welfare Ministry while completing an undergraduate degree in communications and political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she later also earned a master’s degree.
Alexandrovich Segev worked at the Histadrut and served as the media adviser to the then-minister of science, culture and sport Matan Vilnai. She joined her firm as a partner in 2008 and has since run successful campaigns for Shelly Yacimovich as Labor leader and Avi Nissenkorn as head of the Histadrut.
While her firm represents more than 100 clients, including government ministries, large companies, colleges and banks, she is most proud of campaigns that added more than 100,000 potential donors to the Ezer Mizion bone marrow donor database.
“Benny came through word of mouth,” Alexandrovich Segev said. “We work for people we believe in, who do things right. That’s why Benny was such a good fit for us. It has been an honor and a joy to work with him.”
Under her leadership, Blue and White’s campaign has focused on the abilities and effectiveness of the party’s leadership, especially on security issues. A rare woman in her field, she works at least 18 hours a day and still finds time for who she describes as two “understanding” daughters, ages 17 and 14.
“I am first and foremost a professional with experience and ability,” she said. “Being a woman is part of who I am. It’s impressive that Benny listens to the many women on our team. Our voice is being heard.”
It does not bother her that she is not a household name in Israel and not known at all outside the country.
“What matters is the leader, not the adviser,” she said. “We are less known for what we do, but that’s on purpose. It’s the essence that matters. We can’t forget that we are here for a leader and a path that we need to advance. I am lucky to work in a job I love. Every day I work I appreciate that – and am very thankful for it.”