Feiglin’s Next Move: What NOT to Expect

A lot of speculation going on now about what Feiglin plans to do, what’s he going to say tomorrow at Binyanei Umah in Jerusalem. Join with Bennett? Join with Yishai? Form a new party and “unite the religious zionists”?

Even the most diehard supporters, it seems, do not understand at all what Moshe Feiglin stands for or what he’s trying to do, no matter how many times he says it.

Though I have no exclusive insider information any more than anyone else has, I can say with certainty that there is no chance in hell – not one out of a hundred, not one out of a million in Dumb and Dumber terms – that he will join forces with any other politician of any other party, period. Doing that would negate everything he has built over the last 20 years of his political career since Zo Artzeinu.

It will not happen, and I am so sure of it that if it does happen, even I will break ranks with Manhigut Yehudit and stop supporting Feiglin. And that says a lot, given that this movement has been one of my three obsessions that now take over my entire life. (The others are libertarianism proper and Austrian economics.)

Why will this not happen? Saying it one more time probably won’t make any of those who still don’t understand it any clearer, but here goes. Feiglin’s goal is not, and never has been, to unite a sector, to influence government, to get a Knesset seat, or to stack his men as Ministers of Whatever. His goal is to lead the nation as Prime Minister and kick off a real revolution that will change the entire country to the core.

Bennett’s goal is not to be prime minister. It is to hold on to a seat of power and influence something, get his hands on a fist full of tax dollars and distribute them to his supporters, be they in Judea and Samaria or wherever else. He does not see himself as the leader of the nation and he never has. The Jewish Supremacists like Ben Ari, Eldad, and whoever else likes to yell and march in Um el Fahm to piss off a few Arabs for shits and giggles, have an even stupider goal in mind – to yell and scream and vent their hatred.

Join Bennett or Ben Ari or for that matter any other politician at all, and Feiglin’s whole essence, his entire message of leading the country, will be absolutely destroyed. It will undo everything he has done in shifting the consciousness of this nation to redemptive terms and we will be back at square one.

Also, do not expect him to go out attacking Netanyahu or any other politician. They are all irrelevant.

Do not expect him to sit down with all the politicians in the Nationalist Camp in private backdoor meetings and make a deal for some giant party or whatnot. He will not be uniting parties in some kind of “Bennett gets the 2-slot, Ariel 3, Yishai 4…” and so on. It will not happen.

If he does start his own party, it will be open to anyone who has libertarian values, or חירותי as the term is being coined in Hebrew. Not necessarily anarchists like me, but all those who hold liberty dear to their hearts for real. Secular, religious, Haredi, even Arab, it makes absolutely no difference.

The goal, once again, is not to unite the religious zionists, not even to unite the right wing. It is to unite those who believe in liberty to lead the country.

How on Earth is he going to become Prime Minister if he starts his own party?

First of all, his 20 years in Likud have convinced the country that he wants to lead, and he’s not just another side-guy who wants a ministry. 2 years in the Knesset have convinced many people that he is true to his values and cannot be bought.

Now is the time to see how much the nation really does see him as a leader, if they see him as different from the other sectoral warlords.

Will he run this election? I doubt it. Slim chance, not impossible, but I doubt it. The crisis has to hit first before he can really take the helm. And it’s about to hit this year. It’s best he not be part of it when the whole system comes crashing down.

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15 thoughts on “Feiglin’s Next Move: What NOT to Expect

  1. Rafi, help me out here please. I don’t understand why Feiglin left the Likud in the first place. This is hardly the first time the Likud veterans have used trickery; what happened to all the perennial explanations of why we still need to stay the course? Where is the low time preference DEMONSTRATED for two decades?

    Why don’t I just copy and paste all the correct points made in Manhigut Yehudit upon the manifold past occasions of cheating and fraud? I thought: “once you reach a critical mass the cheating is no longer effective’. No? As the question goes, “What do you want, one marshmallow now or two later?” (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/05/18/dont-2?currentPage=all)

    I am quite alarmed and dismayed. I feel betrayed. Feiglin got me to join and vote Likud, and now he is just going to leave? Isn’t that what Motti Karpel said and did in 2006? Why the sudden about-face? Is it because of the lost Knesset seat? Who cares? Wasn’t it about becoming Prime Minister?! Good things take time! Feiglin only recently said that what matters is Jewish leadership, whether it was through him or not.

    I thought Likud is the only “playing field”. I still do. Here I go and join the team (a while back!) only to find everyone betraying the ideals that were always spoken about, leaving me all alone. As Feiglin once put it, “Are we Crusaders in the Holy Land?”

    His recent speech was vague and unsatisfying:

    Said Feiglin: “Let us not forget: Only one Knesset mandate for Lapid instead of Likud in the previous elections would have made him the prime minister.”

    Uh, what happened to “the old plan”? Bibi loses mandates because of his shtick; he gets fired as party head; Feiglin becomes head of Likud and leads it to stardom. Was I the only one to naively believe it was meant in earnest?

    He continues: “The Likud has become an aging party; the average age of its members is above 60. Like the other parties, it is completely based on the side of the problem.”

    Huh? As they say in Hebrew: Boker Tov!” Has he only noticed this NOW?! I thought the youth of Manhigut supporters was our PLUS. How did it suddenly turn into a minus?

    Feiglin: “Over the last year, however, I began to feel that the system as a whole and the Likud in particular was learning to contain me and my message and simply continue onward. I began to feel that despite our vision, I was in danger of becoming part of the problem instead of the alternative and the solution.”

    Wait, how so exactly? In which SPECIFIC questions could he no longer remain without compromising principles? Judging by his record as MK I don’t see it.

    This is the sad Ron Paul moment of leaving the Republican Party all over again (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ron_Paul%27s_1987_Resignation_Letter_to_the_RNC). He certainly regretted it later, and I daresay we will too, when the new party… Well, I’d rather not spell out my fears.

    Forgive me, but from where I sit, it seems like a sudden case of power lust. Feiglin smelled the hand-tooled leather of the Knesset chairs, and grew jealous of Bennet’s meteoric (albeit probably short-lived) rise, copied from his own scripts. Why is everyone smiling and cheering at the Monday speech? If we no longer believe in staying the course, and PERFECTING what is, why not leave Israel for Uganda, or maybe try out the Kahanist “Medinat Yehuda” dream?

    Dumb ol’ me thinking Feiglin and (part of) co. were visionaries. It’s all yet another “get-leadership-quick” scheme after all. If I had any political mettle I would restart my own version of “Manhigut” in Likud tomorrow to change the Likud from within AS LONG AS IT TAKES, but I cannot yet.

    Going forward, I am dumbfounded and lost. I have no idea what I will do next about any of this as far as membership, and voting now or in future elections. And judging by the gist of 60% of the comments on various websites, I am hardly alone in feeling this way. Don’t take my word for it; see for yourself.

    P.S. I really hope you both post and respond to this comment; I spent some time and heart writing it.

      • Hmm… Feiglin has never made secret that he would possibly leave Likud one day. His categorizing Likud as the leadership instrument of the national camp was often accompanied by the explanation that no other leader of the nationalist camp has ever gotten more than 1 vote without first spending time in the Likud (Lieberman, Bennett…). Nonetheless, I agree with you 99% (I disagree about the aspersions you cast on his motivations) and am very disappointed with the decision, which I do not understand at all.

      • Tomer, cast aspersions on Bennett’s motivations? I cast aspersions on the motivations of all politicians. For them it’s דן לכף חוב as far as I’m concerned. They are all guilty until proven innocent. Feiglin has proven himself innocent. Nobody else.

  2. Several years ago, I was reading an article on Arutz 7, and someone commented that we need Netanyahu. Someone else responded that we need Moshe Feiglin. I had never heard of him, and googled him. I fell in love. He is not just another religious Zionist politician. He is a visionary and revolutionary. I knew that in him and Shmuel Sackett and those close to them that we really had “something”. I don’t mean to sound like I am so smart or anything. But I “got” it right away. And every time he needs to make a big decision, or he makes a prediction about something, he only vindicates my admiration for him. He hasn’t let me down yet. I don’t think he will, either. He fears G*d. He is not about Feiglin, or a sector. He is about Torah, HaShem, the Land, and the People.

    • Carolyn, I may as well share the story of how I found him. It was actually in two stages. I was in my freshman dorm room in 2002 at Brandeis University, just got to college. I had a free subscription to The Forward for some reason. I think they give it to Jewish new college kids or some such thing. Likud primaries were just the day before and Sharon was at the height of his power. I looked at the front page and saw that Sharon beat Netanyahu something like 55% to 42% for Likud Chairman.

      And then I saw this picture of a guy with a kippah that got the other 3%, who led something called the “Jewish Leadership Faction”. I just remember thinking “Who the hell is this dork, running for head of Likud with a kippah on his head, leading something so stupid sounding as the ‘Jewish Leadership Faction’? What a weirdo.”

      And then I thought nothing of it for 6 years.

      Then in late 2008 after I had already made aliyah, I saw an article on Jpost that Netanyahu was “scared” of this dorky guy with the kippah that ran for Likud Chairman, and Netanyahu REALLY didn’t want him to get a seat. I didn’t understand why on Earth Netanyahu was scared of such a stupid-sounding guy.

      So I looked at his website. And after about 2 minutes I understood. I had supported the hitnatkut until then because it was a direction. A bad, evil direction, but a direction nonetheless. And I saw what he was trying to do, that there was someone actually trying to go in the right direction, to lead the nation in the right direction. And I felt absolutely horrible for what I had supported, the horror of it and I broke down crying and shaking, and I was free of the Galut mentality. And I spent the whole night, the WHOLE night, just reading and reading and reading everything. And I never turned back.

      • Awesome, Rafi. So cool!

        It has crossed my mind that it is not coincidental that his wife’s name is Tzippy. I wonder if someday we’ll say, “From Moshe to Moshe to Moshe, there is none like Moshe.”

      • Rafi, a great story. I’m a bit older than you, and have lived in Israel since the early 1990s. I remember Feiglin from his Zo Artzeinu days. He almost literally and single-handedly brought the entire country to a standstill in that very sober and tense summer of 1995. I was much younger and naive then. I remember Bibi back then too, blathering at the mouth, and I kept wondering, if he was so against Oslo, why he wouldn’t team up with Feiglin, who seemed to accomplish far more than him with no resources and no backing. At the time, it honestly confused me.

        Then I forgot about him. I found him again in the 2002 time frame as I moved in a more and more libertarian direction and started to understand just how theatrical and meaningless politics truly is and I was desperately searching for someone who espoused the views I held dear vis a vis Jews and Israel. I have my issues with the man (as you yourself have noticed, he has a weak grasp of economic principles), but I have been a major fan since. I joined the Likud, voted in the 2004 referendum against the Gaza expulsion (which he was largely responsible for – see what he was able to do years before he even got into the Knesset!), and saw him speak to small crowds in peoples’ homes several times.

        I am no longer surprised by the opposition Moshe engenders, even, especially, among, the observant. They literally don’t understand him, and don’t want to. The invective leveled at him at these meetings was surprising (to put it very mildly) at the time. Some people were actually angry at him. For what, I’m not sure. They must enjoy Israel being subservient to the nations, or something like that.

      • Shimshon, I’m with you 100%. Don’t worry about the economics. I’ve got it covered. Moshe has the soul of Mises, the fighting spirit, without the knowledge. Soul is enough. I’m here to fill in the rest. You get it. I get it. We’ll be fine.

  3. Hi Rafi, I enjoy your blog. However I do think it would be good to see Feiglin in the next Knesset, because it gives him a good national platform for publicity, and a way for him to get known. These two years that he was in the knesset was a boon for him. Many Israeli’s that I’ve met do not even know he exists. I would hope that he would run with Yishai or Ben Ari, despite his differences with them. I’ve been following Feiglin since 2007, and hope becomes the PM.

    • Thank you. Now is not the time to be in the Knesset. Tactically, he cannot be perceived as the next soured political opportunist who goes out and makes a straw party just to get in the Knesset. More deeply, the whole system is about to collapse in an economic crisis of epic proportions, and it’s best he’s not involved.

      Thirdly, there aren’t “differences” between Feiglin and Yishai/Ben Ari. They stand for such completely different things it would be like Feiglin uniting with Henin Zoabi. There is absolutely zero chance of that happening. Zero.

  4. I agree. It’s bewildering how few people are capable of understanding what Moshe is all about. They only think in short term tactics, and can’t comprehend a long term strategy.

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