MK Moshe Feiglin at Western Wall, October 13, 2014.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party’s recent free fall in the polls could create an opportunity for former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin’s new party, Zehut, Feiglin told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.
Three polls broadcast over the past two weeks have found that if elections were held now, former finance minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would surpass Likud as the largest party in the next Knesset. Feiglin said he hopes that as the voters get to know Zehut, they will see it as a more logical fit.
“The more disappointment there is with the Likud, the better we will do in the next election, because there will be tens of thousands of Likud voters who are looking for a new nationalist, nonreligious party to be their new political home,” Feiglin said.
“Zehut can take the votes of Likud voters away from Yesh Atid. We talk about distancing religion and state as much as possible, and many of our top activists are atheists.”
While polls taken by media outlets have never included Zehut, a poll sponsored by the party in April found that 86% of its potential voters defined themselves as right-wing or center-right. The remaining respondents who said they would seriously consider voting for the party defined themselves as centrist, center-left, left or other.
Surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of potential Zehut voters were not religious-Zionist like Feiglin.
Forty-five percent defined themselves as traditional, 26% as secular, 18% as religious Zionist and 11% as haredi (ultra-Orthodox). While 37% voted for Likud and 26% for Bayit Yehudi in the last election, 10% voted for the Zionist Union and 10% for Kulanu.
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The Ma’agar Mohot poll of 500 respondents, representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli Jewish population, found that Zehut could win 12 seats. The poll did not question Arabs and automatically gave the Joint List nine seats, even though almost every poll shows it maintaining its current 13 mandates if the four Arab parties on the list run together again.
“When we got results, we realized that the public would not accept them, so we decided not to advertise them,” Feiglin said. “Twelve mandates are just potential. What matters is that the people who said they would vote Zehut mirror the Israeli population.”
Feiglin left Likud and formed Zehut after he was not reelected in the last Likud primary. He said voters will be attracted by his party’s agenda of keeping the entire land of Israel and advocating for a free economy, smaller government and vouchers for education.
He predicted that the next election would be held in less than a year.
“The combination of personal freedom and Israeli sovereignty from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean gives different groups of people what they want,” he said.
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