Examples Of The Election Stratagems In Israel

Sergey Faer elaborated and published 73 stratagems for election campaign (see his book “Methods of Election Campaign Strategy and Tactics” (St. Petersburg, 1998) - http://www.neva.spb.ru/faer/index_en.htm. One can see here the fine merge of TRIZ & politics.

In this article I present a few examples illustrating some of these stratagems in the recent politics of Israel.



Stratagem 1


Suppose, you have some arguable issue: will the voters support you in the elections? Or will the people support your supposed treaty with a neighbor country?

Formula: Present this arguable issue (e. g., the winning of the elections) as an accomplished fact.

This stratagem may have several steps. One of them recommends to discuss the details: i.e. instead of discussing if the result "X" is possible at all - discussing the Y= F (X) and which one of the "Y"s (Y1, Y2 or Y3) is better.


Example. Israel is now going to hold peace talks with Syria. The planned proposal is to withdraw the Israeli forces from the Golan Heights and to turn the Golan Heights over to Syria - all this in exchange for the peace treaty. However, many of the Israeli people are opposing these plans. The main reason is the safety consideration: the Golan Heights make a good native obstacle to the possible Syrian invasion.

So, up to this stratagem, the choice of “withdrawing or not withdrawing” is skipped. In order to make the Israeli people get used to the idea of withdrawing from the Golan Heights - the very idea of withdrawing is not discussed. The supporters of this idea do not discuss if the Golan Heights should be turned over to Syria.

Instead: the discussion is going on how to safeguard an Israeli safely leaving the Golan Heights. Which security arrangements are needed? How deep should be the demilitarized zones? What is the optimal depth of the demilitarized zones? Which kind of early-warning capability is needed? Should it be an early-warning station on the Hermon? Should it be satellite photos? Should it be surveillance planes? And so on. (How to Safeguard a Pullout/ Peter Hirschberg with reporting by Erik Schechter)


The Jerusalem Report
Thursday, February 10, 2000



Stratagem 4


A global and beautiful goal attracts people, does it not? And such a "makeweight" to the Candidate’s earthed program may settle the elections.

Important: this goal needs to be concrete, clear, and understandable.

Formula: You should formulate and uphold the goals much more broad than they are necessary for your victory at the current level.

Then your rivals’ programs would look trivial, flat, devoid of a super-goal.



Prime Minister Ehud Barak vowed to bring Israel into line before the end of the decade with the Maastricht Agreement. (MAASTRICHT TREATY is an international agreement approved by the heads of government of the states of the European Community (EC) in Maastricht, Neth., in December 1991. It was ratified by all EC member states before Nov. 1, 1993, when it came into force. The treaty established common standards for financial policy, criteria for inflation, debt, deficit etc.)

So, Prime Minister Ehud Barak spoke at a conference in Herzliya on economic policy. He vowed to bring Israel into line before the end of the decade with the Maastricht standards for fiscal policy.

"Within seven to eight years, Israel will adopt the standards delineated in the Maastricht Agreement, in its deficit requirements, inflation requirements, and to a degree in its debt requirements," Barak told a conference.

"I am convinced that the Israeli economy will be at the forefront of developed world economies within seven to eight years," Barak said.

(Barak: Israel will meet Maastricht criteria by 2008/ Eli Groner)


The Jerusalem Post
Sunday, February 20 2000


Comment. The next elections in Israel are scheduled to be held in 2003, then in 2007. So, this promised date of European requirements adoption - 2008 - is far enough not to be checked during the near election campaign.



Stratagem 21

RUNNing in pair

Formula: In addition to our Candidate and its rivals, there is one candidate more running for election. He is an unmanifest partner of our Candidate.


Example. During the last (1999) elections there were two main candidates for prime minister: Ehud Barak (the leader of the “One Israel” block) and Benjamin (Bibi) Netaniyahu (the leader of the Likud party). Still one more candidate was running at the beginning of the race - the Center Party leader Yitzhak Mordechai. Obviously, he had poor chances, still he vowed not to withdraw his candidacy. And suddenly…

One day before the elections, in a noon announcement to the press, Yitzhak Mordechai withdrew his candidacy from the race for prime minister, calling on his supporters to vote for the One Israel leader Ehud Barak.

“The decision is expected to further boost Barak's chances of a first-round victory in tomorrow's elections.

In endorsing Barak, Mordechai said he "has advantages, experience" and added that he "knows Barak's strengths and weaknesses." He also denied having made a deal with Barak.” (Mordechai pulls out of PM race/ by ILAN CHAIM)


The Jerusalem Post
Sunday, May 16, 1999


Comment. There is no evidence that Yitzhak Mordechai made any deal with Ehud Barak. However, it makes no difference for us just now. Because the result proved to be good for Barak. So the deal was worth doing it even if it was not done.


Stratagem 24



Formula: Convincing the voters, inclined in the rival’s favor, that their candidate will remain in power even after losing the election, and his experience will be used by our Candidate.

This stratagem appears to be fruitful especially when the rival voters see that their candidate could not be elected. Then, while voting in favor of our Candidate, they would support their candidate as well.


Example. Although the final night of the election broadcasts offered no last-minute bombshells, Ehud Barak debuted two new ads clearly aimed at wrapping up the election tomorrow by speaking to those still-undecided voters in the middle.

A few months before, Barak started this election campaign with the pledge to cut the funding for the religious education and new settlements over the Green Line (i. e. in the territories occupied in 1967). This gave him support from the vast amount of the voters, new immigrants especially.

And now, at the last night, he allowed himself to change the line.

Speaking directly to the camera, the One Israel leader cushioned his party's line that funding for orthodox religious education and new settlements will be redirected elsewhere, by declaring he still respects the religious values and "living over the Green Line.” In his final appearance, Barak gave what sounded more like an acceptance speech, pledging to work together in a new government even with those "whose viewpoints are different than mine." (Barak's final appeal trumps Bibi / by CALEV BEN-DAVID)


The Jerusalem Post
Sunday, May 16, 1999



Method 58


“The best defense is attack.” The best attack is returning to your rival his own blow. And when you have more than one rival, a blow of one rival may be returned to another one. The more the number of your rivals - the more the number of possible combinations. Is it some kind of a sophistry? No, it is a necessity.

Formula: Clashing the attacker’s interests with those of the other rivals.


Example. “Shas” is the name of one of the parties. Its leader at the time of the last (1999) elections was Arye Deri (he resigned soon afterwards being convicted in bribery). At the time before the elections he was under trial and making an effort to prove his innocence by attacking the trial, all the judicial system, the Supreme Court and its president Aharon Barak (claiming that the judicial system in Israel was prosecuting him because of his eastern - Moroccan - origin).

From the other hand, Shas and Arye Deri were attacked by the Shinuy party and its leader Tommy Lapid. The background for the Lapid’s attack was the very fact of Deri’s conviction: “How could the political party, running to the Knesset, be headed by a criminal?”

So, up to the Method “Clashing the Interests” Aryeh Deri tried to make the Supreme Court and Tommy Lapid clash with each other. He found a citation from the book by Tommy Lapid “I’m Still Talking”: "More than once it has been said that we are suffering from law by force and the dictator for better or for worse is [Supreme Court President] Aharon Barak."

Deri’s using this source - Shinuy leader Tommy Lapid - to back him up was quite unexpected. Deri told his supporters there is no reason to fear he will be investigated by the police and jailed for this criticism of the judiciary, because it is Lapid who voiced it. (Deri cites Lapid in attack on courts / By LIAT COLLINS)


The Jerusalem Post
Friday, May 14, 1999



Several examples of the election stratagems in Israel politics are presented. Learning these stratagems and deliberate using them would amplify the Candidate’s chances to be elected.

Jacob Skir
March 2000