Feiglin mulls leaving Likud

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

Feiglin 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Feiglin 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
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’smovement are being recruited by MKs and party officials to remain inLikud’s ranks without Feiglin as their leader.
Jewish Leadership activists complained that Netanayhu’s hold on theLikud had made the party difficult for those who opposed him. Netanyahurepeatedly attacked Feiglin’s faction during the run-up to the internalparty vote 10 days ago. Netanyahu labeled Feiglin’s movement as “amarginal and extremist group” in his successful effort to mobilize some2,500 Likud central committee members to come to the polls. The specterof Feiglin seemed to serve Netanyahu’s intended purpose – more than 80percent of central committee members voted, and 76% of them supportedNetanyahu’s position.
Feiglin is expected to hold the first of a number of meetings with hiswell-mobilized activists on Sunday, to begin to assess the movement’sfuture.
Jewish Leadership has already weathered two such crises of faith withthe Likud in the past decade. In 2006, the movement considered takingsteps following the collapse of the Likud in the parliamentaryelections, and it did so again in 2009 after Netanyahu placed Feiglinand his supporters in unrealistic placements on the party’s Knessetcandidates list.
Feiglin preferred over the weekend to remain silent on the details ofthe planned meeting, reportedly saying that he would rather hisactivists hear his thoughts first directly from him rather than via themedia. He did, however, confirm that the movement is in a period of“internal clarification.”