Moshe Feiglin 311 .
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Ahead of the last two general elections, in 2006 and 2009, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu took every political and legal step possible to prevent Likud
activist Moshe Feiglin and his closest political allies from entering the
When two top Likud MKs were on their way to an event hosted by
Feiglin in 2007, Netanyahu’s office called and threatened them, and the
lawmakers made a U-turn and went home.
But five years later, Feiglin has
entered the Likud mainstream.
Netanyahu’s advisers said that had the
party held an election for its Knesset candidate’s slate next month as had been
planned before early elections were canceled, the prime minister intended to
ignore Feiglin this time.
In the ultimate sign that Feiglin is no longer
considered controversial, no fewer than eight Likud ministers as well as Knesset
Speaker Reuven Rivlin attended the wedding of Feiglin’s son Aryeh and his bride,
Todayah, in Bnei Brak on Sunday.
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, Finance
Minister Yuval Steinitz, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Communications
Minister Moshe Kahlon, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Environmental
Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister
Yuli Edelstein, and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat all attended to
Livnat was the most surprising attendee because she had
vocally bashed Feiglin in the past. Even Netanyahu reached out to Feiglin last
month, calling him to express condolences when Feiglin’s father died.
one questions our allegiance to the Likud anymore,” Feiglin said. “Everyone sees
that it is much more natural that the national camp in the Likud decides races
in the party than non-Zionist Arab voters making the difference in Kadima and
Labor MK Daniel Ben-Simon said he was saddened by the ministers
attending the wedding.
He said they instead should have sent him a
message that his politics were unwelcome in Likud.
“This is the new face
of the Likud: Feiglin and Sons, Ltd,” Ben-Simon said.
“In the past few
years his impact has been so dominant that in another decade his spirit will
dominate the Likud Party. This popular movement founded by Menachem Begin
will become radical and extremist. It’s a bad thing for
Feiglin’s move to the mainstream can be dated back to his son
David’s life-threatening car crash in June 2010. David is better now but one of
the lasting effects of his injury was that it softened his
Following Netanyahu’s announcement that he had formed a national
unity government with Kadima last week, Feiglin praised the move on his Facebook
page, even though it likely meant another year-and-a-half before he could enter
Had the early election taken place, Kadima strategists
intended to portray the Likud in Feiglin’s image. Former Kadima leader Tzipi
Livni recently warned that Israeli politics will fall prey to a “Dark Feiglinist
Livni’s comment stars in ads for Feiglin’s annual
fund-raising dinner in New York in three weeks.
“We don’t think we’re so
dark,” the ad said. “In fact, we throw pretty good parties! Come join us for
dinner on June 5 and help Livni see the light.”