(photo credit: Courtesy)
Former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin’s new party, Zehut – “Identity” in Hebrew – will hold its first election for its Knesset candidates on Tuesday.
The 2,600 members who have joined Zehut will be selecting 15 candidates among the 25 running. Those 15 will then be ranked ahead of the next general election in what might end up being Israel’s first open primary in which all citizens will be permitted to vote.
Candidates include an economist, a physics professor, a social worker, the father of a slain soldier from IDF Operation Protective Edge, New Jersey-raised Hebron spokesman Yishai Fleisher, and the daughter of the late Kach MK Rabbi Meir Kahane, Dr. Nitza Kahane.
Zehut decided to reserve the 10th slot on its list for a representative of Diaspora Jewry.
Only Zehut International members who live abroad will be permitted to vote for the slot. The three candidates for that position are former Uruguay chief rabbi Ben Zion Spitz, dog trainer David Sidman, and libertarian activist Rafi Farber, who has promised that if elected he would “annoy the crap out of Netanyahu.”
Feiglin, who relinquished his Australian citizenship when he entered the Knesset, said it always bothered him that his American wife could vote in US elections but Israelis abroad could not vote.
“We decided to allow Jews abroad to vote and participate in the democratic process, because Israel belongs to all Jews, including those who have not yet made aliyah,” Feiglin told The Jerusalem Post.
Zehut’s 312-page platform says the Land of Israel is exclusive to the Jewish nation and that no demographic threat requires relinquishing any territory.
The party’s diplomatic plan calls for the nullification of the Oslo Accords, restoration of all lands to full IDF control, and exercising full sovereignty.
Non-Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria would be given three choices: an emigration aid package, permanent residency in return for loyalty, or full citizenship after a lengthy and in-depth examination.
Zehut already has 20 branches nationwide and seven groups on college campuses.
“We built a real party with ideology and a real platform,” Feiglin said. “Israel has gotten used to personal politics instead of ideology. We have gotten to the stage where the Left already realizes its ideology was never realistic and the Right has realized it does not offer its own solution.”
A survey taken in August by pollster Camil Fuchs found that 21% of the public would not rule out voting for Zehut.
The poll found that the party would win 2.4 mandates, which would not be enough to enter the Knesset. But respondents said if they knew Zehut would enter the Knesset, they would be more likely to vote for it, which would lead to it winning 6.3 mandates.
Feiglin said he expected to win 15 seats and follow in the anti-establishment footsteps of US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and new Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay.
“The public is sick of the establishment and wants ideology,” Feiglin said. “I am sure the phenomenon won’t pass on Israel. What are ‘Make America Great Again’ and Brexit? A desire for identity, which is what Zehut means.”
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