Aug 15, 2007

Feiglin's failure

Moshe Feiglin is the head of Manhigut Yehudit, which is a faction within the Likud party.

Moshe Feiglin pulled in an impressive 23% or so of the vote for leadership of the Likud. His percentage has gone up each in primary he has participated in. Last time he pulled down about 13% and this time he is up to 23%. Feiglin knows the road is a long one and he will not overturn the Likud in just a few years. As long as he keeps improving his support base, eventually he will reach the point where he will be victorius.

Feiglin's acheivment of 23% of the vote equals about 9000 votes. Some people, especially the hard core Feiglin supporters, are declaring this to be a serious achievement and even a victory of sorts.

This is how I see it. I am not someone who can crunch numbers like an accountant, but this is what I think. Manhigut Yehudit claims to have 9000 members, the overwhelming majority of which it brought into the Likud from outside.

The 23% he achieved is equal to about 9000 votes.

Clearly not everyone who is a member of Manhigut voted for Feiglin. Sure, MY voters are very disciplined and come out to vote in high numbers. I did not see any, official or unofficial, numbers posted as to internal Manhigut numbers, but I think we can safely assume that they had a turnout much greater than the general Likud turnout of 40%. Sure some people are abroad, some could not vote for personal reasons, etc. so not all 9000 members actually voted.

I will be generous and assume 80% of Manhigut members turned out and voted Feiglin. That is very generous. Also, there are plenty of people even in the Likud, who just do not like Bibi Netanyahu and would not vote for him no matter what. These might be supporters of Silvan Shalom or just general Likudniks who do not like Bibi. Those people probably voted Feiglin, even if just as a protest vote against Bibi.

Alll this means that sure Feiglin pulled in 23%, which in percentages alone is a great achievement. However, I think the percentage is so high just because the general turnout was so low. Feiglin really only pulled in his own members plus a few more.

This election shows that Feiglin's time has not yet come. He is not being successful at pulling in support from the general public. Here and there he might find a sympathetic person or someone who supports him, but overall he is not getting any support from outside his own people.

Unless he finds a way to change that, he will never be successful in his goals.

It might simply be PR. He is painted as an extremist. He is not necessarily clear enough when he talks about teaching Jewish values and tradition rather than establishing a "Halachic state" (people have told me they heard him say many times his goal is to teach Jewish values, tradition, culture, history, etc. but not create a halachic state, yet they do not understand how he differentiates). He might just need to find a better way of getting out his message.

I know Feiglin goes to lots of meetings. As a matter of fact he has said he will never turn down a community meeting in which he is asked to speak and present his views. As far as I can tell, when he goes to these meetings, he is likely "preaching to the choir". It is a crowd made up mostly of his supporters, who want a chance to meet him and ask questions.

So sure he goes out to meet the people, but maybe he is only meeting his own people in different settings. Maybe he is not really meeting the general public.

Feiglin has succeeded in one thing. That is, he has brought the issues of Jewish values and education to the forefront of the discussion. He gets interviewed in mainstream media and writes articles in newspapers and these issues he raises get discussed. But that is not enough. If he really has the goal of winning this thing eventually, he has to look for more general support, and not just the people he brings in from the outside from other fringe parties.

As of right now, Moshe Feiglin, in my opinion, is not even close to achieving his goals. He is not even on the right path. This primaries was the outing of Moshe Feiglin's failure.


  1. omg i sent jameel a text EXACTLY like this but different numbers! (i didnt have the official numbers) feiglin claims to have signed up 12,000 i think.. either way the mainstream likud is NOT voting for him!

    And funny the verification is LOLCU.. maybe thats a message to feiglin ;)

  2. I am pretty sure that the percentage of Likud voters actually going out to vote has stayed more or less in the same range in the last 3 primaries. I believe the range was 35% to 45%, but I can't recall where I saw this.

    So the low turnout wasn't unusual.

    The difference is that last time Feiglin got only around 14% and the time before that around 7% (again if I remember correctly).
    So his numbers are rising.

    I also spoke with a number of non-dati people that voted for Feiglin. They actually liked his message once they heard it and him for themselves.

  3. sure his numbers are rising, but they are rising in line with the numbers of people he is signing up, not people he is converting from the general likud ranks...

    they like his message because his message is good. the problem is most people dont hear it

  4. In addition, his increase from 13-23% can be based solely on the fact that only 3 people ran this time, not 4. Bibi's percentage went up way more than Feiglin's did.

    In ten years he has done nothing. He hasn't even put a single person in Knesset! And he supports a party that took his support and disengaged from Gaza (and he wasn't strong enough to stop it, no matter how many times he lectured that the only way to stop it was from the inside).

    It's time (actually it's way past time) for him to strengthen and unify and support the true right-wing. There is no reason why the right-wing cannot get their act together and put together a strong party.

    But no, we'll continue hearing about how successful he is, and he'll continue supporting a party that is centrist (in actions, if not in original intent).


  5. Excellent post rafi.
    I haven't joined the Likud to support Feiglin for exactly that reason. Feiglin is not the Likud, he doesn't represent the Likud and Likud people don't vote for him.
    In order for him to be successful, the people campaigning for him should be traditional Likudniks. Only after the Likud has bought into his philosophy should people from the outside join the party. Otherwise they are actively supporting a philosophy they don't agree with.

  6. not to mention the fact that every single one of feiglins supporters - all "likud members" - actually vote for ichud leumi or marzel in the general elections and not ever likud

  7. all the comments above are true except for one.

    y - not every single member votes for ichud leumi. some do, maybe even a lot do, but not every single one. some vote for marzel :-) . Just joking, a lot vote for likud and alot vote for nrp and a lot for ichud, etc...

  8. my point was that if you do not vote for the likud in the general elections - you are not a likudnik (even if you do pay membership) and should not be able to vote in the primaries for the likud leader. MOST of the feiglin voters are only interested in "taking over the likud from the inside" (as they iopenly admit) and vote for other parties in the elections. it in no way shows the direction of the likud voters. what if 10,000 arabs signed up for the likud and then voted for achmad tibi in the likud primaries? would that show anything regarding the leanings of the likud?

  9. Would it be authentic arab leadership?


  10. Perhaps as an American who's never been to Israel (beyond my current means, but I'm finally in a position to save up for it) I don't have the right to make this comment. But as a Jew, I have to put in my two cents--er, shekels:
    Please tell me WHERE in the Torah or Talmud it says that anyone should spend the whole day studying Torah and not working. The Torah is our guide for living--life exists outside of books.
    The great rabbis who contributed to the Talmud worked for a living and studied or taught after working hours. If it was good enough for them, why isn't it good enough for the yeshiva boys who spend all day studying their writings???
    Besides, any educator will tell you that most people can only study for limited periods at a time and retain the information they've studied or apply it in a meaningful way. Granted, there may be a few gifted people who actually can sit and study all day long and do this--but they are rare.
    Also, most countries put requirements on their citizens--paying taxes, obeying the law and, in Israel, serving in the Army. Why would an able-bodied young man or woman not want to defend a small country that is always under attack? And please don't tell me about bitachon. Another religion teaches that you should just sit around and wait for their "god" to take care of everything. We, however, are G-d's partners. G-d has given us guidelines and abilities. We, in turn, follow those guidelines to the best of our ability and G-d supports us. One of those guidelines is that if someone comes toward you with a weapon in hand and says he is going to kill you, you must kill him first. How does someone do that by sitting on his tuchas all day long with his nose in a book??? And why do they feel comfortable putting other Jewish lives on the line to protect them while they do so?

  11. I spoke to Jameel today and he told me they just came out with the numbers for Manhigut. Turnout was much lower than expected and they only had a 55% turnout, which is higher than the general turnout, but nowhere near what they would have expected. Another source of mine in Manhigut told me the numbers are 45% turnout..

    All this does change things a bit and possibly indicate that they have gained a certain amount of support within the Likud - somewhere around half of the 9000 votes Feiglin got might have come from general Likud members. Not nearly enough for a takeover of the Likud, but a start.

  12. How is that possible? What percentage was it last time? Manhigut Yehuditers are very dedicated (which is part of the reason why it's so frustrating that the most dedicated right-wingers are wasting their time in a Centrist party).

    In any event, Bibi gained more than he did!

    At what point will they admit this is a failure? They should set some sort of guidelines instead of just continuing to lose and lose, while supporting a party to the left of their views (again, in practice, if not in the original intent of the party).


  13. Just to look at it from a different perspective:

    Bibi went into the primary with two huge strenghts: incumbency, and instant name recognition. And even with that, he was not able to maintain party discipline (the real purpose to any party primary vote).

    Perhaps Feiglin has not "arrived" yet, but this vote does show that Bibi is mostly popular when he's compared to Olmert (his real opponent in the vote).


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