February 17, 2009
Following the recent elections and the endless analysis of what happened, as well as the numerous predictions of what is yet to happen, one fact continues to remain quite clear. That is, the constant inability of any one party to garner the overwhelming support of the real majority in this country, a majority which clearly identifies, albeit in different ways and at different levels, with the ‘three basics’ of Judaism – the land of Israel, the Jewish people, and the Torah (for more please see Who are the Majority of Israelis?) For this reason, and in order to finally tap into this real majority, I would like to make a suggestion to Manhigut Yehudit (MY) and the National Union (NU). Quite simply, come together and join forces.
From the outset, I would like to state that my intention is NOT to form another marginal, right-wing, religious party, but rather a party whose clear goal is to tap into the real majority stated above in order to take over the reigns of leadership in the country. Anything less, is not worth the effort. True, this is basically what Moshe Feiglin and MY is trying to do from within the Likud. However, despite their good intentions, they are alienating many good people who simply cannot vote for Likud in the national elections. While many of us vote in the Likud primaries in order to advance the MY candidates, when it comes to the national elections this is a different story. The leadership of the Likud, both today and in the foreseeable future, simply prevents this from being a viable option. Thus, although voting in the Likud primaries certainly strengthens MY, many of us are just as convinced that voting for Likud in the national elections will only make it easier for the present leadership to hand over more Jewish land to our Arab enemies.
Moreover, even if hypothetically one day Moshe Feiglin rises to the top of the Likud, it is almost certain that the moment this happens the Likud ‘powers that be’ at that time (be it Bibi, or Silvan Shalom, etc) will simply take most of the party with them in order to form Likud-2 or Kadima-2, leaving Feiglin the head of a 5-10 seat party. True, these would be 5-10 very good people, but after many years of hard work and perseverance this would not be much of a consolation. Of course this brief analysis might be wrong, but is it worth the risk? Finally, before some will say that nothing would make Feiglin happier than all the Bibis and Shaloms and Livnats splitting from the Likud and leaving Feiglin the head of a small Likud party that he could rebuild in his own fashion, my answer is twofold. One, why go through all the process just to arrive at a small party, when small parties can be established now? Two, although it is true that Bibi managed to rebuild a small and shattered Likud after Ariel Sharon left to form Kadima, there is a big, big difference here. While Bibi is a well entrenched figure in the ruling establishment, with nearly all the power at his disposal, Feiglin is not. This is a massive difference that should not be lightly dismissed.
The point here is not to deride Moshe Feiglin or MY. Personally, I believe Feiglin has more clarity than nearly any other public figure in Israel. Equally important, he understands that the only way to take over the leadership in this country is by connecting to the broad majority mentioned above, and not by targeting a limited population group. This, however, is the problem of the NU. Although the people that comprise the NU are amongst the best, their recent campaign revealed that they, and many of their supporters, are stuck in the limited ‘sectoral mentality’. Campaign adds focusing on the ‘orange crowd’ and ‘values of the knit kippa community’, as well as advertisements on Egged buses depicting a crying child being evacuated from his Gush Katif home, were all so very, very sectoral. Such a limited outlook is incapable of connecting to the larger majority stated above.
Thus, in order to change the political map of this country and to finally connect to the real majority, it is essential that MY and the NU join forces. On the one hand, Moshe Feiglin and MY need to fully understand that they are taking a big risk with their continued path in the Likud, while on the other hand, the NU needs to understand that their limited vision will get them nowhere. Only by joining forces, together with anyone else willing to come aboard (former ‘Likud rebels’, former Mafdal members, etc), with the clearly defined goal of connecting to the real majority, can authentic Jewish leadership finally be established in this country. The time to do this is now, in order to prepare for the next elections in another two to three years.