Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu's nemesis in the party, Moshe Feiglin, suffered a blow this week when Moti Karpel, one of the co-founders of his Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) movement, decided to quit.
The split in Manhigut Yehudit emerged over the question of whether the movement should remain in the Likud. Karpel said Feiglin should accept an offer from far-right activist Baruch Marzel to head his Jewish National Front Party, but Feiglin decided that he had more to accomplish inside the Likud.
Karpel, who lives in the settlement of Bat Ayin, in Gush Etzion, is considered the ideological father of Manhigut Yehudit. The editor of the movement's weekly flyer on the Torah portion of the week that is distributed nationwide, he shocked Manhigut Yehudit members when he sent them his resignation letter, which was obtained by The Jerusalem Post.
"In our deliberations over whether to remain in the Likud, my opinion was that we have finished our role in the party and should instead seek another political framework," Karpel wrote. "Since everyone else thought differently, I decided to quit the movement."
Karpel said Netanyahu made clear that Manhigut Yehudit was no longer wanted in the party when he tried unsuccessfully to expel Feiglin two months ago. He said he would not seek to get elected to the Knesset with another party.
"Our brand is Feiglin, not me," Karpel said. "If Feiglin left, it would be one thing, but I don't have any electoral power."
In response, Feiglin said: "Karpel remains the founder of the idea of Jewish Leadership and we will remain on good terms, but the Likud is still the right tool to deliver our message."
Feiglin said he believed that he could have easily gotten elected to the Knesset with the Jewish National Front, but that he didn't want to be part of a rightist sectarian party.
According to a leading Manhigut Yehudit member, "The letter came as a bombshell to us because no one expected that the ideologue of the movement would, out of nowhere, call for changing our tactics in such a significant way."
A senior Likud source responded that the party was not upset to see Feiglin's supporters go. "He is an extremist who never belonged in the party in the first place," the source said.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu called a press conference for Tuesday to reveal the Likud's new socioeconomic platform. MKs Moshe Kahlon, Dan Naveh, Yisrael Katz, Gilad Erdan and Gideon Sa'ar are expected to participate.