Moshe Feiglin, leader of the right-wing Manhigut Yehudit faction within the Likud
Party, has thrown down a pre-election challenge to Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu to give him a realistic spot on the Likud candidates list in the next
Feiglin, who won nearly a quarter of the vote in the Likud
Party leadership vote on January 31, told The Jerusalem Report in an interview
published on Thursday that his demotion from 20th to 36th place on the Likud
list in 2008 was instrumental in reducing the number of Likud seats to 27 from
the 38 they won in the 2003 election. (The Likud received 12 seats in the
2006 election.) His place on the list was changed in a procedural move by party
leader Netanyahu widely regarded as a last-ditch attempt to distance the party
from Feiglin’s policies.
“I would actually draw large segments and the
Likud would grow considerably bigger as a result,” Feiglin told the
He claimed that his platform, which advocates abandoning the
two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, annexation of the West
Bank and encouraging Palestinians to emigrate through financial inducements, has
support far beyond the settler community.
“Around 70-80 percent of my
vote did not come from people I brought into the party or from the settlements
in Judea and Samaria, but from places like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and
Beersheba,” Feiglin told the Report.
“More and more people all across the
country are starting to dream our dream.”
Feiglin said the solution to
the Palestinian issue was for them to leave the country.
“The will to
emigrate is there, we see it in the surveys. And countries crying out for modern
semi-skilled and skilled labor would be willing to absorb them. The question is
whether those countries get people who built mud huts in Sudan or people who
built the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv,” he said.
“I am not talking about
transfer or about trains or buses. No one can complain about people being given
money and emigrating freely,” he added.
Feiglin said his inclusion in a
realistic spot on the election list will attract back Likud supporters who have
drifted away to Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu and other right-wing
“The real question is whether voters on the right go with
Liberman, Shas and other right-wing parties or with the Likud,” Feiglin
Feiglin has become a major power-broker in the Likud, even though he
has never won a Knesset seat. Among the party luminaries toasting his showing in
the primary contest at a celebration in Rishon Lezion were government ministers
Yisrael Katz and Gilad Erdan, deputy minister Ayoub Kara and MKs Danny Danon,
Tzipi Hotovely, Ze’ev Elkin and Miri Regev.
“You represent the values
that have guided the Likud,” declared Erdan, who is considered by many as a
future party leader.
“In the 12 years since Feiglin joined the Likud he
has progressed from rank outsider, widely seen to be leading a hostile,
settler-backed take-over bid, to mainstream power-broker,” writes the Report’s
diplomatic editor, Leslie Susser. “Many Likudniks running for top spots in party
institutions or for places on the next Knesset list feel they need his
“The fact is the Likud is moving rightward, and the ‘Feiglin
effect’ makes it that much more difficult for Netanyahu to contemplate a
two-state compromise with the Palestinians,” Susser said.
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