Feiglin admits he's close to quitting election race

Feiglin said that an agreement "is beginning to look achievable" and that the two sides were "close to completing an agreement" that would require Zehut to quit its run.

Moshe Feiglin (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Moshe Feiglin
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Zehut Party leader Moshe Feiglin reported “unexpected progress” that could lead to him dropping out of the September 17 Knesset race following a meeting on Wednesday with Prime Minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu spoke to Feiglin about an economic portfolio in the next coalition that he expects to form, key economic reforms and legalizing medical cannabis. Feiglin said Netanyahu went into the medical cannabis issue in great depth with professionals to deal with the complications of the issue.
After the meeting, Feiglin said that an agreement “is beginning to look achievable” and that the two sides were “close to completing an agreement” that would require Zehut to quit its run.
“This would really save lives,” Feiglin said. “It would be accompanied by significant achievements in free markets, advancing small businesses and individual freedom,” he said. “These achievements can be implemented in the government. I will bring this possibility to before all the members in an organized referendum, in which they will decide whether to accept the offer and quit or reject it and run.”
The Likud confirmed that “Netanyahu is investing in a major effort to avoid wasting votes on the Right” that has led to “significant progress” with Feiglin and Zehut. But a Likud spokesman said an agreement had not yet been finalized.
Hours before Netanyahu met with Feiglin, the Zehut leader flexed his political muscles by convening a mass rally of his party at Expo Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Feiglin told the crowd that he was under tremendous pressure to remove his party from the race but  he would not do so.
“From the afternoon, I have heard from the press that I will announce here that I am quitting,” Feiglin said. “I am sorry to disappoint whoever expected that I but I am not quitting,” Feiglin said.
The Tel Aviv event was a full house with a mixture of veteran campaigners – convinced that this time Zehut would pass the electoral threshold – and people who had come out of interest, to learn more about the party. As expected, the audience was a mix of clearly religious and obviously secular, with an age range from teens to pensioners.
“Only this party could you have a room full of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, ultra-Orthodox, religious and secular working for the same goal,” said one campaign activist.
Although Feiglin has become associated by the general public with his stand on legalization of cannabis, the party conference drew interest for its liberal, anti-regulation economic platform such as banning solidarity strikes and being able to sue workers unions.
Economist Gilad Alper, who is number 2 on the list and the man who drew up Zehut’s economic platform, drew enthusiastic support when he presented his ideas.
When the party’s number 3, Dr. Ronit Dror, espoused her views on the importance and rights of families without state interference, chants of “Family! Family!” rang out.
Russian-speaker Arkady Muter, number 4 on the list, addressed both the needs to help immigrants and strengthen Jewish identity in the Diaspora.
Yossi Collins contributed to this report.