Has Feiglin moved to the Left?

Zehut ad campaign has longtime right-wing agitator spouting slogans such as ‘End the occupation’

Zehut Party leader Moshe Feiglin at an event of his party in Tel Aviv (photo credit: MOSHE BASOS)
Zehut Party leader Moshe Feiglin at an event of his party in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: MOSHE BASOS)
Former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin is probably best known for his far-right activism, going back to the days of the Oslo Accords, but a new ad campaign for his Zehut Party features slogans that read like they could be coming from the Center-Left and even the far-Left.
“End the occupation,” for example, is one of his campaign’s main slogans.
“We have turned into a ridiculous force that does police work in a conquered land,” one billboard reads, ending with the emphasized words: “End the occupation!”
What the billboard doesn’t say is that Feiglin seeks to annex the entire West Bank and provide monetary incentives for Palestinians to leave, along with a path to citizenship for those who prove they want to live in a sovereign State of Israel.
The party denied that the ads hide Feiglin’s real positions. Rather, party spokesman Moshe Basos said they are meant to be provocative and spark conversation.
“Of course the Zehut Party led by Moshe Feiglin does not mean ending the occupation in the negative and apologetic sense the Israeli Left means,” Basos said. “Rather, we have a structured worldview in which the sovereign, Israel, begins acting like a sovereign in charge of all parts of the land, without apologizing and without confusion.”
At the same time, Zehut does not identify with the current Israeli Right, which Basos said “is preserving a diplomatic stalemate... that turned Israel into an occupier in its own land. IDF soldiers are doing police work in the heart of the land. This phenomenon doesn’t take place anywhere else in the world.”
Basos added another left-wing slogan to Zehut’s repertoire: “The occupation corrupts,” he said.
“It corrupted the IDF and turned it into a police that is unable to win. It corrupts Israel’s image in the world and the consciousness of the Israeli public.”
There are other Zehut ads that seem like they could come from the Center or Left.
“I am emphatically opposed to any coercion, certainly to religious coercion,” another Feiglin billboard states, and in bold letters it touts the feel-good message: “I want you to be who you are!”
“A young couple in Israel works the hardest in the West, earns the least in the West and pays most expensive prices in the West, when Israel is one of the richest countries in the West,” is another billboard.
While the ad about the economy sounds like an excerpt from a speech by someone in Yesh Atid, Labor or Meretz, parties that seek greater government involvement in the economy, Zehut advocates the exact opposite.
Feiglin has libertarian views on the role of government, which are fairly unique in Israeli electoral politics, calling for a reduction in the government’s role in most areas of life. This also includes abolishing the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly on Jewish life-cycle events and kashrut.
The new ads also show Feiglin looking jarringly like photos of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in his iconic black turtleneck and round glasses, and Feiglin’s kippah is cut off in the photo – though a Zehut spokeswoman said they are not intentionally hiding his religiosity.
Zehut has an open primary planned for January 29, in which any Israeli can vote online. The party also plans to allow Diaspora Jews to participate. There are 15 candidates, whose positions are listed on the party’s website, along with Zehut’s detailed platform.