Feiglin's party approves deal with Netanyahu

Party's candidates were split on deal earlier, but have voted on accepting it

September 1, 2019 21:00
2 minute read.
Feiglin's party approves deal with Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zehut leader Moshe Feiglin at a joint press conference, August 29, 2019. (photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)

Former MK Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party members voted 1165 to 319 on Sunday to accept a deal he reached with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.

The deal requires Zehut to quit the September 17 race in return for promises of passing legislation legalizing medical cannabis and Feiglin becoming a minister if Netanyahu forms the next government.

While most of Zehut’s Knesset candidates endorsed the deal, Feiglin faced opposition from the party’s fifth candidate, Refael Minnes.

“There is no real value in Netanyahu’s promises, based on his past track record,” Minnes said. “For those promises, there was no reason to give up our values. It would have been better to just quit the race than to become servants of the Likud.”

Minnes warned that Feiglin would become “a punching bag of Bibi” and a powerless minister if he joined the cabinet.

“We sold out the party for promises that are unlikely to be kept and a portfolio for a minister who won’t be able to accomplish anything because he will not be an MK and won’t have parliamentary support,” Minnes said.

David Sidman, who was 20th on the Zehut list in the April election, said he voted against the deal, “because Bibi is a known politician slayer, and when he swallows someone up, he won’t put them in an important position.” He said if the referendum does not pass, Zehut could enter the Knesset.

“If the party votes no, it will embarrass Netanyahu, and the Hebrew media loves any Netanyahu embarrassment, so we would make the headlines every day to Sept 17,” Sidman said.

But Feiglin’s number three candidate, divorced men’s rights advocate Ronit Dror, said she is “cautiously optimistic” about the deal. She said she tried and failed to get divorced men’s rights included in the deal but the Likud did not agree.

“Without the agreement, we would have collapsed, and we had no money left,” she admitted. “I don’t believe Bibi, and I don’t think we’ll get 100% of what he offered us, but at least we will get something.”

Chicago native Shlomo Gordon, who is sixth on the list, said he supported the agreement in part, because he did not want his party to be blamed if the Right does not remain in power

“Though I am skeptical on whether the agreement will be upheld by the other side, it does seem that there is movement in Likud toward advancing our issues, so some good may come out of the agreement.”


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