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Perspectives

Navigator’s folio of ideas, insights and new ways of thinking

Dispatches: Israel Spring 2015

Jaime Watt
Jaime Watt | Executive Chairman
April 5, 2013 lnkdn_btn-svg
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As a guest of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, I was in the country for the unexpected re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Even Mr. Netanyahu’s closest strategists were surprised: The night of the election, we were joined at dinner by his campaign manager, Aron Shaviv. Although he has an international reputation for winning election campaigns for centre-right candidates, as we chatted over dinner even he failed to realize how resonant was Mr. Netanyahu’s eleventh-hour call to action.

The problem, he said, was that Likud voters had been tempted by a ‘package deal’ — they believed they could vote for a centrist party within a potential right-wing coalition but still get Mr. Netanyahu as the prime minister.

Still, the decision to scare Israelis into voting — and voting for him — by casting Arab voters as a threat, stirred an international controversy. Such tactics may be expedient in the short-term, but they can also carry a steep price.

Now, as efforts to build a coalition government get underway in Israel, the extent to which Mr. Netanyahu’s strategy has poisoned his own chalice, remains to be seen.

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About the author:

Jaime Watt
Jaime Watt | Executive Chairman
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Jaime Watt is the Executive Chairman of Navigator. He specializes in complex public strategy issues, serving both domestic and international clients in the corporate, professional services, not-for-profit, and government sectors.

Widely regarded as Canada’s leading high stakes communications strategist, he is a trusted advisor to boards of directors, business and professional leaders as well as political leaders at all three levels of government across Canada. Jaime has led ground-breaking election campaigns that have transformed politics because of their boldness and creativity.

Jaime has been involved in corporate governance education and thought leadership throughout his career and regularly provides expert opinion in challenging governance situations. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Directors Education Program, jointly developed and administered by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He is also a guest lecturer for a variety of Rotman School programs, and the Ivey School of Business at Western University.

Currently, Jaime chairs the board of OCAD University. As well, he serves on the board of University Health Network, the Literary Review of Canada, CANFAR and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

He is a past president or chair of the Canadian Club of Toronto, the Albany Club, Casey House – Canada’s pioneer AIDS hospice, Canadians for Equal Marriage, Canadian Human Rights Campaign and Canadian Human Rights Trust among others. Additionally, he is a past director, trustee or governor of many organizations including the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation, Stratford Festival, TD Bank Private Giving Foundation, Clean Water Foundation, Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, and the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington D.C.

In his board leadership activities, he has frequently been elected to strategic planning, audit, succession planning, search and crisis management committees.

Deeply involved with efforts to promote equality and human rights issues, he was the inaugural recipient of Egale’s Lifetime Achievement Award and has been awarded the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals for service to the community. He recently received Out on Bay Street’s Leader to be Proud of Award. Jaime has been elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, is a Toronto Heritage Companion, and was named one of Toronto’s most influential citizens.

A highly regarded speaker, Jaime appears often as a public affairs commentator in the media. He is a regular contributor to all CBC platforms across Canada. He also writes a weekly column for The Toronto Star and is a Policy Magazine contributing writer.

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