(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Likud activist Moshe Feiglin, who took third place in what many considered a surprising showing at the Likud primaries, declared Tuesday that the results showed "that the public understood that there existed a Jewish alternative [in national politics]."
Considering his showing a victory for Jewish leadership, Feiglin said, "When we first ran, we got only 4%. Now it's up to 15 and the next time we will double that rate."
He continued to say that he was glad that the Jewish agenda received widespread support and blasted members within his party that said that Feiglin's vies were unrepresentative of the Likud's agenda.
Referring to comments made by Likud members including Education Minister Limor Livnat Tuesday morning, Feiglin said that he saw such "mudslinging as containing an anti-Semitic element."
"If I didn't wear a skullcap and wasn't old, I wouldn't be treated this way," he continued.
Meanwhile, other mixed responses marked reactions to the victory of Binyamin Netanyahu in the Likud primary race.
A close associate of Netanyahu, MK Yuval Steinitz said in response, "It is a wonderful night for the Likud and Netanyahu; after seven years he is returning to his natural place, and in several months he will return to his natural place as prime minister."
Silvan Shalom's strategic adviser, Moshe Debbie, said the polls were conducted earlier before many voters came out to vote. However, he added, "It is no secret that we are disappointed by the low voter turnout. We must remember that the anxiety generated by Sharon's hospitalization brought more voters to vote for Bibi. It's like the syndrome of the battered woman who returns to her abusive husband."
Labor Chairman Amir Peretz said, "Today it was made clear that Labor is the only party that presents a real socio-economic alternative. Kadima and Likud are responsible for the destruction of Israeli welfare. Sharon and Bibi were full partners in all of the economic decrees and initiated irresponsible polices."
Likud Faction Chairman Gideon Sa'ar tried to strike a conciliatory tone, saying that the Likud vote was "the first step, a great democratic step," for the Likud Party. He said that tomorrow, the victor would probably call a meeting of the Likud faction in the Knesset, and start the process of bringing the fractured party back to unity before the March elections.
"We will decide our way, in light of the victory of Hamas in the West Bank and in light of the retreat of Kadima from the West Bank," Sa'ar said. "We need to present an alternative to Sharon's policy of unilateral withdrawals that have brought Kassam (rockets) to Ashkelon."
Minister Dani Naveh said that the Likud with Netanyahu is a center-right party, not a radical right wing party. According to Naveh, "The 'Feiglins' represent a marginal group in the Likud."
"This is a turning point for the Likud in this election campaign that would bring its voters back home," he said.
Kadima's Meir Sheetrit said that if the poll turns out to be correct, it would be good news for his party.
"A Netanyahu victory creates a clear distinction between the Likud and Kadima since Bibi represents the hawkish approach. The public will have to choose between a platform that calls for dialogue with the Palestinians and an ideology that represents a continuation of war with the Palestinians," he said.
Meretz-Yahad Chairman Yossi Beilin said that a Netanyahu-Feiglin party must not be part of the next government. "With the election of Netanyahu, the Likud has become a far right wing party that endangers the Israeli national interest, both socially and diplomatically."
Former prime minister Ehud Barak said the result was good for all parties. "A Bibi-Landau-Feiglin trio clearly states what the Likud represents. This clarity will result in better results for the Likud," he said.
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