(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
While other Knesset members will ride off into the political sunset after their successors are sworn in to the parliament Tuesday, outgoing Likud MK Moshe Feiglin will go to the Party Registrar’s Office to officially create his new political home.
Feiglin left the Likud after he failed to get selected for a realistic slot on the party’s list for the new Knesset. He announced that he would form a party at an event held at the same time that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated with his party’s new candidates.
Feiglin’s faction will be called Zehut, which means identity in Hebrew. It will push for Israel to decide what it means to be a Jewish state.
Speaking at the Knesset after he received his “former MK card,” Feiglin boasted how people waited in line to pay NIS 500 to join the list of party founders that would be submitted to the registrar. He said 60 percent of the initial 500 founders were not religious and that Zehut would not be sectarian.
“Establishing Israel’s identity is the key to its future,” Feiglin said. “The loss of its identity is the problem, and returning it is the solution.”
Feiglin said he turned down offers of realistic slots on multiple party lists, preferring to sit out the current Knesset and build a new party from the bottom up.
“The Likud is not the answer to anything,” he said. “I prefer to advance my ideas on my own. My ideas attract curiosity and appreciation. I didn’t need a stage. What I want is to provide an alternative of leadership.”
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Feiglin said that if MK Yair Lapid could start a new party and win 19 seats and Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon would win 10, he could win 20 in the next election, which he believes will take place soon after what he called a “Pyrrhic victory” for Netanyahu.
His political predictions proved right in the past. He wrote on Facebook ahead of the 2013 election, when Bayit Yehudi was polling 16 seats, that it would fall to eight when the Likud would warn its voters that the Left could come to power.
Zehut will be registered as soon as the Interior Ministry verifies the Israeli residence of everyone on its list of founders in accordance with the law.
Feiglin hopes the current Knesset will pass a bill allowing Jews abroad who are not citizens to join Israeli political parties.
Many secular people attended a pre-Passover toast Feiglin hosted Sunday night in Jerusalem.
Uri Noy of Petah Tikva, who was one of them, said he was surprised to see so many people not wearing kippot.
“The upheaval is really happening,” he said. “I came to Feiglin because I saw that in the  Second Lebanon War, Israel did not fight back. I got turned on by him, and I’ve supported him since then.”
Noy said he was in Likud with Feiglin and he was glad they left because the Likud has not been true to its political platform that calls for keeping and settling the land of Israel.
He said there was nothing wrong with a secular Jew supporting the building of a Third Temple, noting that Zionist founder Theodore Herzl wrote in favor of it in his book Altneuland.
“Leaving the Likud is not giving up,” said Binyamin Nakonechny, a former Likud central committee member who was the first person who joined Zehut. “Feiglin has faced political setbacks throughout his career but he hasn’t given up. He has just started over.”
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