(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Promising that if he won, "We will save this nation and also the Likud," right-wing activist Moshe Feiglin renewed his bid for the party's leadership Wednesday night.
Speaking in the basement of Jerusalem's Park Plaza Hotel, Feiglin said he believed that with the help of activists to garner support among the voters, he would defeat the five other contenders: MKs Binyamin Netanyahu and Uzi Landau, as well as Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.
It's Feiglin's second bid for party leadership. In 2002 he unsuccessfully ran against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Netanyahu.
"We are suggesting a Jewish agenda for the Jewish people," said Feiglin, one that includes Jewish education, security and court reform.
With respect to education, he said, he wanted to see an hour of Jewish learning in all schools every day.
"Most of the children do not know how to finish the sentence in the prayer Shema Yisrael [Hear O Israel]," said Feiglin. Teachers would also have to pass a test of knowledge of Judaism.
Security, he said, included rejecting all principals of the Oslo Accords, while court reform would see judges being elected rather than appointed to the bench.
"The Likud is on the rocks because it ignored the Jewish agenda, which is its natural voice," he said. Feiglin joined Landau and politicians in the National Union who are calling for right-wing parties to unite in the upcoming elections.
He predicted that such a bloc would be large enough to win a majority. Adapting the old adage, "if you believe it, it's not a myth," he said, "if you vote it, it's not a myth."
One of his supporters, Amit Halevi, said he believed Feiglin would be strengthened in his leadership bid this time around by the this summer's evacuation of Gaza and four northern Samaria communities. "Anyone who witnessed disengagement understands the battle we are waging today," he said.
Feiglin, who until the last Likud primaries was known more for his anti-Oslo battles in the street than for his ability to work within the political establishment, came in 39th on the last Likud list. It was a showing that should have qualified him to run for the Knesset.
However, he was barred from the list by chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Supreme Court Justice Mishael Cheshin, because he had served six months in jail following his 1997 conviction for seditious acts, publications and unlawful assembly during his protest of the Oslo Accords.
It is assumed he cannot be barred this year because enough time has passed since his conviction to allow him to run for office.