Jan 22, 2012

A Plea To Moshe Feiglin

A Guest Post by Yosef Symonds

I attended the recent Moshe Feiglin campaign rally in Jerusalem recently. It was a masterful production with representatives from different sectors of Israeli adorning the speakers’ platform, speeches many and well executed, catch-cries such as “Not to Fear” to chanting and song. As one attendee stated, it is the only political forum where she can come away not depressed. The organization of the evening was well oiled, with commitments, donations and pledges collected as naturally as synagogues do on Yom Kippur. The evening was a credit to Moshe’s dedicated supporters who use social media to good effect and show the fruits of a decade of political work as a sub-culture within the Likud.

I believe that anyone wanting to help in the struggle for a secure and non-repressive Jewish homeland should contribute to Moshe Feiglin and his group—no matter for whom they intend to vote in the National elections. The individual voter has so little say in Israel, given a party system which removes the MKs from responsibility to their constituency, that they should grab the opportunity to do a legal double-dip and join the Likud to participate in its primaries for 96 shekel/year. Anyone such as Moshe Feiglin who is serious about the security and future of the country should be supported if it does not detract from one’s primary efforts.

Having said the above, it is with much trepidation that I dare to pen some words of critique about a man of Moshe Feiglin’s stature. I do so in the hope that they will be received constructively, as is their intention. I came home from the rally and was nearly ready to cry. Here we had the only challenger to the Prime Minister for party leadership, promoting the cornerstone rally of his campaign, a huge hall draped all around with Likud banners and balloons—and not one Likud MK present! If a decade of hard and dedicated work is not enough to get any Likud MK to back him publicly against the incumbent Prime Minister, then it is time for Moshe to admit that the path to Knesset representation for him and his followers is not through the Likud. There is a limit to the number of years a CEO can return a company loss and remain in the position; a limit to the number of battles a general can lose and stay in command. This does not mean that Moshe Feiglin has not had considerable influence in the Likud, nor that he will not continue to. But it is not the type influence that translates into direct representation for himself and his followers. Netanyahu will be laughing all the way to the polls as the core Manhigut Yehudit supporters add their votes to the aggrandizement of Netanyahu himself and his party. No wonder so many true supporters of a Jewish Israel shy away from the Manhigut Yehudit agenda which includes voting for Likud. Moshe Feiglin has planted the seedlings of his ideas in the Likud, seen some sprouting, and maybe that is the total role he has to play there. In this electronic day and age, ideas can continue quite well without the physical presence of their author.

I plead with Moshe and his followers, please give your wonderful ideology a better and more rewarding airing. I have recently heard so many times people saying about you—“Join Ehud Leumi (National Union)”. I believe you have an excellent vision for the Jewish people, but are implementing that vision ineffectively. I support you to the extent I do because the need for unity amongst those who believe in Israel and the Jewish people is so desperate that we cannot afford not to. And you hold the key. You cannot afford to commit your vision to a path that many of us find completely unacceptable. It matters not how sharp and convincing your rhetoric might be. You must realize that there are many of us who find it not just irresponsible, but even a betrayal of our basic values to even consider voting for another party whose platform is to carve up our country to make way for another Arab state and consequently make our peace dependent on its goodwill.

Israel does not have the luxury of your solo performance. Stop turning the other cheek to your ignominious and cowardly treatment by the leaders of the Likud—it does not befit you. That is not Jewish leadership. We don’t want to hear your rhetoric about arithmetically, nay geometrically rising gains when you win 30% of the Likud leadership vote, or even 40%. It doesn’t translate into our voice. Extract yourself from the game playing of the Israeli public where so many play into the hands of the centralist media by not voting for their convictions because they believe it is more expedient to vote somewhere between their “enemy” party and the party whose platform they really believe in. Although one can concede the truth of your thesis that the Prime Minister will only ever come from one of the two largest parties (an almost axiomatic statement), the flaw is that the identity of the largest parties is not fixed. The dynamics and flux of the Israeli political environment over recent years is such that parties can come from nowhere to be one of, if not the largest overnight.

The country needs you to move your ideology to the National Union where your leadership and the logistical prowess of your followers will be appreciated, and will be rewarded by a pro-rata number of seats in the Knesset without big brother conniving to rob you of your rights. The National Union is not yet a major power. It needs you more than you need it, and even more do we, the citizens, need you there. Even the act of your joining would bring you publicity you will never get in the Likud. And remember, your hypothesis of real leadership and power coming only to one of the two major parties has been shown to be shaky in the dynamic world of modern Israeli politics. We have seen parties rise out of nothing to become one of the major parties overnight. Let your followers be true to their principles and vote for a party that, as it stands, will fight against the decimation of our country. By your logic, you could attach the name “Likud-in-Exile” to Manhigut Yehudit, since you are the bearers of true Likud principles today. Apply your acute insight and fertile imagination to what you could do in the freedom and independence of the National Union. The National Union sorely needs your coherent outlook and has a lot to learn from you. You need the National Union to add strength and independence to yourselves, but much more than that, Israel needs you desperately to forge a wider unity. And you can be thankful for the impact you have had on Likud and realize that the listening ears there will contain to listen to you.

Break the divide and rule technique of the Left by uniting with others of similar spirit who can’t vote against their conscience. I look forward to seeing you share the podium with the National Union in a truly national unity. And may it be very soon, because I am not sure we have time on our side.

Yosef Symonds
Ramat Beit Shemesh 
18 January 2012


  1. why national union? What a bizzare letter/ complaint.

    How can people support Feiglin when he talks about privatized healthcare after seeing the results in America!??!?

    Some things in this world should not be privatized, or done to make a profit.

    Wars, Health care, Roads, and Charity are just a few of them. You'll read the Torah for land arguments, but not on how to run society!?!?

    Crazy loons.

  2. I thought the whole point of Feiglin's movement was to influence a major party (Likud) from the inside instead of being just another right-wing faction. Whether one agrees with Feiglin or his movement, I think it would defeat the whole purpose of what he is trying to do for him to join the National Union.

  3. Yes, the whole point of Feiglin's movement is to influence a major party (Likud) from the inside. And after a decade (at least 2.5 elections) there has been not a single Feiglin person amongst the Likud MKs, the Likud is ramping up the demolition of outposts/settlements, and is even weighing an invitation to Barak to join. No Likud MK can afford to support Feiglin publically. And at the rally for Feiglin's campaign, there was a noticeable absence of rank-and-file Likud supporters who are the declared target of his efforts. Israel does not have the luxury of foregoing hard political results for decades.
    Yosef Symonds

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. don't you think it a bit not "honest" to become a member of the Likud just to push feiglin, while in the elections to vote for another party?

  6. y - I too disagee with that policy. While Likud members are nto obligated to vote for Likud, it is conceivably possible that a Likud member might not like a specific candidate in any given year and therefore would vote for a different party. Becoming a member with the intent of not voting Likud is wrong. Personally, I think anyone becoming a member of Likud in order to support Feiglin should be voting Likud in the elections.

    I also am in favor of the large party system, whether it is a two or three party system. I think the small, sectoral, parties do more harm than good.

  7. Why can't he latch onto a Likud MK, then? Step aside for the good of his movement and inside endorse those with a chance of getting in.

    Anonymous, I don't see why you're so opposed to privatization. It usually works. Health care in the US isn't private.

  8. I don't see where this obligation to vote for the party you join comes from. Firstly, there is a chance, albeit small, that if the Likud leadership pulls itself together, I would vote for the party.
    But more significantly, I can't understand this concept of acting "lifnei meshurit hadin" in Israeli politics of all places. The individual voter gets a raw deal by any measure. You can't vote for a politician as in most other democratic countries, only for a party. And that party can switch representatives, its leadership can run off with your mandate to form another party without your mandate (Kadima) etc.
    So if you are offered the chance to pay membership for a party to get the right to vote directly for its leader, I don't see the problem.

  9. y - That's a straw man that they throw around from the top of the Likud to try and keep Moshe out. Only the Anglos buy it, and it's a shame.

    The Likud has established itself as THE arena for politics in this country - every other party has traditionally built narrow agenda of one sort or another and cannot hold the bigger picture of Israel in its hands. Feiglin isn't the only religious person who has entered the LIkud - in fact there are many and they are currently welcomed.

    Regarding whether Feiglin's supporters vote Likud or not, or whether it is "moral" to sign up for Likud if they only plan to vote for him when he finally makes it to the top - is putting the entire picture in a vacuum. First of all this is why the law in Israel and many places restricts membership to one party, and also why those parties often collect an annual fee from those "supporters." In reality, there is a very active membership of several interest groups within the Likud party - for example gays, single parents, Charedim (odd list I know) - and all are involved in order to influence the Likud to make good on their charter as a party for the people.

    Don't throw away your chance to influence the most influential party in the country (or whatever party you prefer to influence) just because someone who wants to keep your influence out, or to direct your dues elsewhere, starts talking morality.


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