Feiglin mulls leaving Likud

Jewish Leadership head: Party has "ceased to be democratic."

May 9, 2010 01:02
2 minute read.
Feiglin at elections to change Likud constitution

Feiglin 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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After his recent landslide defeat in a Likud central committee procedural vote, Jewish Leadership movement leader Moshe Feiglin indicated over the weekend that he is reconsidering his movement’s future in the party.

“The Likud has ceased to be democratic. This new reality requires us to determine whether to stay and whether there is a party worth remaining in,” Feiglin said.

He added that the party had become “as anti-democratic as Israel Beiteinu.”

The Makor Rishon Hebrew-language daily reported on Friday that people within the Jewish Leadership faction were calling on Feiglin to take the movement, which was demonized by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prior to the internal vote, out of the Likud.

Feiglin supporters said over the weekend that the Jewish Leadership movement is entering a period of internal discussion, during which Feiglin and his supporters will determine whether the movement’s future is in the governing party, or perhaps would be better directed within another party. Both religious-leaning right-wing parties – the National Union and Habayit Hayehudi – were mentioned as potential directions for the faction, as was the possibility of a union of the three to form a national-religious front.

In addition, a number of Likud members who participate in Feiglin’s movement are being recruited by MKs and party officials to remain in Likud’s ranks without Feiglin as their leader.

Jewish Leadership activists complained that Netanayhu’s hold on the Likud had made the party difficult for those who opposed him. Netanyahu repeatedly attacked Feiglin’s faction during the run-up to the internal party vote 10 days ago. Netanyahu labeled Feiglin’s movement as “a marginal and extremist group” in his successful effort to mobilize some 2,500 Likud central committee members to come to the polls. The specter of Feiglin seemed to serve Netanyahu’s intended purpose – more than 80 percent of central committee members voted, and 76% of them supported Netanyahu’s position.

Feiglin is expected to hold the first of a number of meetings with his well-mobilized activists on Sunday, to begin to assess the movement’s future.

Jewish Leadership has already weathered two such crises of faith with the Likud in the past decade. In 2006, the movement considered taking steps following the collapse of the Likud in the parliamentary elections, and it did so again in 2009 after Netanyahu placed Feiglin and his supporters in unrealistic placements on the party’s Knesset candidates list.

Feiglin preferred over the weekend to remain silent on the details of the planned meeting, reportedly saying that he would rather his activists hear his thoughts first directly from him rather than via the media. He did, however, confirm that the movement is in a period of “internal clarification.”

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