Likudnik in Pittsburgh

Likudnik in Pittsburgh

When Likud Party member Moshe Feiglin spoke at Poale Zedeck Synagogue Thursday, he made light of how close he just came to winning a seat in the next Knesset.

“I think I may be in the Guinness Book Of World Records for holding a seat in the Knesset for the shortest period of time in the 60-year history of Israel,” he said at the town meeting arranged for him.

Likud party members elected Feiglin, leader of the ultra-conservative Manhigut Yehudit faction, to the 20th position on the party’s roster for the February General Election. That meant if Likud won at least 20 seats in the election, Feiglin was guaranteed a seat in the Knesset.

That lasted all of two days. The party’s Election’s Committee demoted Feiglin to the 36th spot. Since Likud won only 27 seats in the election. Feiglin was out.

On its face, the reshuffling of party positions was meant to move district representatives higher on the party’s list, but many observers believe it was a ploy to help the party appeal to more centrist voters.

At the time, Feiglin chose not to appeal the decision, citing a lack of faith in the court system. “I realized there is just no point in doing so,” he told Ynet News. I don’t believe in the High Court of Justice.”

Still, Feiglin wants that Knesset seat. He also wants to become head of Likud and ultimately Prime Minister of Israel.

Feiglin’s platform is controversial because it upsets the status quo. He contends that the Zionists got it all wrong. Their premise that once a Jewish state was created anti-Semitism would end, was wrong. Unless that Jewish state is governed with Jewish values, Feiglin contends anti-Semitism will prevail because the world will not respect the Jewish state.

His rapidly growing popularity in Israel indicates that he has found a theme that rings true to his followers.

Feiglin’s theme is simple back to basics — Jewish values.

“Our enemies do not respect us because the Israeli government does not have Jewish values,” he said. “They respect Jews but not the Israeli government.”

He contends that 20 percent of his followers are atheists.

“They know that the only reason for Israel to exist is that it is a Jewish state. A Jewish state must have Jewish values.

Feiglin contends that Netanyahu chose to give the seven mandates to other parties to keep him out of the Knesset.

Netanyahu is still in the process of forming the next government. He is a coalition agreement with the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu Party, but he has also asked President Shimon Peres for his help informing a broad-based coalition with the centrist Kadima Party.

Feiglin predicts that there will be another election in 10 months.

(For a complete story on Feiglin’s town hall meeting, read the March 26 Jewish Chronicle.)