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Sunday, March 29, 2015 

Foreign spending in Israeli elections in forseeable future

One of Netanyahu's campaign managers sees a wave of overseas spending in Israeli elections coming in later years:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign manager is predicting a wave of outside spending in future Israeli elections.

"I think in every election campaign from this point onward, you'll see external groups slugging the market. It'll be very interesting," Netanyahu's top strategist, Aron Shaviv, told The Hill.

"This precedent, I think that we're about to see in Israeli elections, is the same effect that Citizens United vs. FEC had in the United States," Shaviv said, referring to the controversial Supreme Court ruling that allowed nonprofit groups to make unlimited independent political expenditures.

In light of the precedent, Shaviv is considering leading a right-wing political action committee in the next election.

During the campaign, Netanyahu allies decried the influence of foreigners, a group that saw a higher profile this year, arguing they found a loophole by not directly supporting a candidate but merely opposing the Israeli leader.

"The campaign slogan was 'Anyone but Bibi,'" Shaviv said. "Of course it was personal."

Shaviv, who is based in Israel but consults in other mostly European countries, said foreign groups took advantage of independent expenditures this cycle, estimating they outspent political parties in Israel at least 2-to-1 on advertising.
The chances foreign sources will continue this effort to influence Israeli elections is still very high, and that's why more efforts will be needed to put a halt to foreign interference. Even European countries and the USA are going to have to work hard if they don't want their own elections influenced for the wrong reasons.

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