May 23, 2010
With the recent rumors that Moshe Feiglin and his Jewish Leadership faction are considering leaving the Likud, much ink has been spilled trying to explain the reason for this latest development. Some are claiming that Feiglin has finally woken up and realized that his approach will never work within the Likud, while others are saying that it’s just a temporary reaction following a rather stinging defeat in the recent Likud central committee vote. Whatever the reason, the feeling is that ‘something is happening’. Not surprisingly, there is also much speculation as to what will be.
In light of these events, I would like to make a suggestion to Moshe Feiglin and his Jewish Leadership movement. If in fact you decide to leave the Likud, why not start a new political party? Moreover, when I say a new political party I mean exactly that – something ‘new’. In other words instead of joining the long list of small right wing parties whose sole purpose is to influence the larger ruling parties concerning a specific issue, why not think big and try forming a new ruling party? As I’m sure you know quite well, the small parties, despite their dedicated members and good intentions, very rarely have any significant influence. Moreover, by focusing most of their energy on advancing specific issues that only resonate within limited sectors of the population, they invariably become special interest parties that very rarely speak to the larger nation.
Thus, my intention here is clearly not to form another marginal, right wing, religious party. Rather, try gathering under one umbrella the people that comprise the real majority in this country. As I’m sure you know, despite the common and erroneous assumption that most of the country is secular, the majority of Jews in this country actually identify, each in his own way, with the three essential pillars of Judaism – the land of Israel, the Jewish people, and the Torah.
In fact the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics recently estimated this majority, which includes anyone who calls himself ‘religious’ or ‘traditional’, to be 58%. Although it is true that within this majority there can be found a wide range of differences both in religious observance and outlook, nonetheless, this group unquestionably represents the real majority in Israel. Furthermore, even within the 42% that are identified as secular, there are many that have some affinity for all or parts of the three pillars mentioned above.
On a political level this party could include, in addition to the Jewish Leadership movement, the National Union, The Jewish Home, the various religious parties, Likud ‘rebels’ and any others who are truly dedicated to the cause.
I’m certain there is much grassroots support for such a faith-based leadership. I intentionally use the term ‘faith-based’ and not ‘religious’ since they don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Although the above statistics clearly show that the majority of Jews in Israel are connected to the Jewish faith and tradition, this does not imply that they are ‘religious’ in the usual way of understanding the term. Nonetheless, the attachment each one has for the above pillars is real, even if each person expresses it in a different way. Moreover it is this genuine attachment, a trait that characterizes most of the Jews living in this country, which is the real strength that is just begging to be tapped into.
Finally, by creating a ‘ruling party’ as opposed to another ‘special interest party’, the intention is that from the start it should be clearly articulated that the goal of the party is not merely to influence but rather to take over the reigns of leadership and to rule.
The Jewish people are waiting for, and desperately need, such a leadership.