Netanyahu aide predicts wave of money in future Israeli elections
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. 
 
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"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 world was gripped by Israeli elections earlier this month, as Netanyahu fended off domestic and worldwide criticism during the political fight of his life. 
 
Netanyahu reiterated in his first U.S. interview after the vote that "definitely millions of dollars" raised outside Israel had flowed into the elections, though it is unclear how much actually did.
 
"I think there's going to be a huge change in Israeli elections in the immediate future," Shaviv insisted, pointing to advertising as another key strategic tool. 
 
Reflecting on his campaign tactics, Shaviv noted an unconventional idea that he thinks may gain traction in Israel. While chief rival Isaac Herzog's center-left Zionist Union party campaigned on income inequality and affordable housing prices, Netanyahu's campaign took an attention-grabbing approach on security and defense.
 
A pair of memorable ads depicted "Bibi-Sitter" Netanyahu caring for a couple's children and another of him playing Monopoly and "not giving up Jerusalem."
 
"If you don't entertain people, then you switch off. What we did was really give very sharp messages with quite an entertaining medium," said Shaviv, who helmed Netanyahu's reelection campaign strategy along with former Netanyahu chief of staff Ari Harow and Republican pollster John McLaughlin.
 
"That's the way that election advertising is going to have to go in the next few years," Shaviv said, suggesting similar strategies could be employed in the U.S. 
 
"Thirty-second ads are dead," he said.
 
Not all of Netanyahu's ads were warmly accepted. He caught flak from some Democrats for one that used images from his March 3 speech to Congress.
 
Shaviv said he prepared a 90-second reel of Netanyahu's best lines from his speech to Congress, but the Israeli leader said he couldn't use them.
 
Netanyahu's win, underpinned by controversial remarks over the Palestinian state and regarding Arab-Israeli voters, was surprising to many political observers. 
 
Netanyahu's Likud Party trailed in polls by at least four seats heading into the election, as the Israeli leader completed 40 interviews during the final 96 hours of the campaign.
 
Shaviv said their team leaned into that message — that Netanyahu would lose — as a way to shore up support among those voting for Netanyahu to form a conservative government with smaller right-wing parties. 
 
Netanyahu eventually earned 30 of the Knesset's 120 parliamentary seats, giving him a plurality. 
 
"We watched it in absolute awe," Shaviv said, noting he has worked on dozens of campaigns in multiple countries. 
 
"I've never seen anything like it."