Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Moshe Feiglin's 180 Degree Turn

David Rubin takes note:
Interviewed today on the “Galei Yisrael” radio station, Feiglin was asked if he might be interested in running as a candidate in one of the existing faith-based parties that are loyal to the land and heritage of Israel. He replied that he wasn’t interested, that what is important is not the party, rather its vision, and therefore he plans to form his own party.

One has to wonder what he is talking about and why. For nearly twenty years, Feiglin has been endlessly promoting the concept of influencing the political process from within the ruling party, the Likud. Often denouncing the smaller sectarian/nationalistic parties, he boldly proclaimed that he would achieve his national-religious objectives and achieve leadership within the Likud. Not satisfied with simply becoming a member of Knesset and increasing the national-religious membership in a party that was not religious at its ideological core, Feiglin inexplicably declared that he would eventually become the leader of the Likud, and he ran several expensive, but failed campaigns to achieve that objective.

To now establish a new political party and to say that “this is a continuation of the mission” sounds disingenuous and even hypocritical. In the above interview, Feiglin even disparaged those who told him that starting a new political party would split the national-religious vote, even though this is in fact what it would do.

The tragic irony is that the great champion of the “big party system” has taken a 180-degree turn, as a result of his personal failure to get reelected. To his credit, Feiglin’s policy goals have always been serious and consistent, and he has proven himself effective at explaining and getting publicity for those views, but his grand political strategy to change and take over the Likud from within has been a disaster. Despite a slight rightward shift in the composition of the party over the past few years, the Likud has remained basically the same Likud that talks about the land of Israel, yet freezes Jewish building in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem; that threatens the Palestinian Authority, yet doesn’t follow through on those threats; that starts wars, but doesn’t follow through or allow the IDF to win decisive victories.

I would like to mention that I know of an important rabbi, who also joined the Likud way back when, perhaps even before Moshe Feiglin, who also thought that the only way to really influence Israeli policy was to be a part of the ruling party.

It seems that politics has little room for ideological purists. If you are not ready to compromise on certain matters you will find yourself in the opposition or outside of the Knesset entirely.

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