What Likud's treatment of Feiglin says about LikudLast week, I mentioned the story of Binyamin Netanyahu's irrational hatred for Moshe Feiglin and how he caused Feiglin to be pushed down on the Likud Knesset list. Two other potential MK's were pushed down with Feiglin. While Feiglin refused to appeal to the courts, one of the other affected candidates, Michael Ratzon, has appealed to the courts after the Likud's internal tribunal refused to restore him to his former position. Ratzon, who opposed Ariel Sharon's expulsion of the Jews from Gaza when Sharon was part of the Likud, has vowed to go all the way to the Supreme Court with his appeal. And Feiglin may yet benefit.
Over the weekend, Amotz Asael, a generally rational but very much politically middle-of-the-road JPost columnist, castigated the Likud for not having expelled Feiglin long ago. Reading Asael's arguments has made me start to re-think (and I invite you all to join me) whether I should be a member of the Likud.
According to his Hebrew Web site, [Feiglin] believes in loyalty to the Torah, itself an inclination alien to the Likud's original inspiration, Vladimir Jabotinsky. Moreover, even within the narrow confines of Orthodoxy, Feiglin addresses what he calls the emuni public as his hard-core constituency, which is code language for a theology that believes in the Jewish state's divinity, and yearns for the day when it is led either by rabbis or people agreeable to them.I happen to disagree with Asael's assessment of Menachem Begin (whom I met 32 years ago at an OU convention in the US). Begin was very much a traditionalist. In fact, foreign dignitaries were absent from Begin's funeral because he insisted on it being held the day after he passed away. Begin also insisted in being buried in the religious cemetery on the Mount of Olives and not with the 'nation's founders' on Mount Herzl. But Asael may well be right about the Jabotinsky and Rimalt and Hurvitz - and he is certainly correct about Sharon - so my points about Begin are not sufficient to refute Asael's argument.
That's not Likud. Such an outlook, quite regardless of what Feiglin intends to make (or break) of the Arabs, can fit with the ultra-nationalist religious parties. Likud's founders, from Menachem Begin and Elimelech Rimalt to Ariel Sharon and Yigael Hurvitz, did not see things this way and neither did their voters. That's why they didn't vote for religious parties. Jabotinsky, a disciple of liberal nationalism's prophet Giuseppe Mazzini, was in fact so secular that he even mulled replacing the Hebrew alphabet with Latin characters. In fact, at one point, in 1931, he shunned an alliance with Orthodox Zionism that could have secured him the leadership of the Zionist movement. Jabotinsky believed in a firm separation of religion and state, as did his disciples, even if while building coalitions they had to compromise this principle.
Now one wonders: Do a candidate's views matter less the lower he is on a candidate list? Would, for instance, United Torah Judaism ever think of placing in its 36th slot someone who eats pork and preaches premarital sex, just because there is no chance he will be elected? Of course it wouldn't, because UTJ knows full well what it stands for and will not compromise it, even seemingly, theoretically or momentarily. Can the Likud say the same about itself? Will, then, the soon-to-be ruling party tell us, at least now, just what it meant in its decision to neither digest nor vomit its elected No. 20 candidate, Moshe Feiglin?Asael is certainly correct about UTJ. Assuming that Asael is correct about the Likud's philosophy, do I really belong there? Okay, maybe my presence there is a matter of expediency and it's that expediency that drove Feiglin in the first place: The odds of a Prime Minister coming from any party other than Likud, Labor or Kadima at present is slim to none, and the best way for someone to become Prime Minister is to take over one of those parties. That argues for me voting in the Likud primary. It certainly does not argue for me voting for Likud in the general election, especially when Feiglin and his followers have been pushed to unrealistic positions on the list.
So to those of you who disagreed with my earlier post in which I said I had no intention of voting for Likud after the way Netanyahu treated Feiglin, here's some more food for thought. If Asael is right (and again, I cannot refute him), I don't belong ideologically in the Likud.
Here's some more food for thought. Several years ago, I was talking with one of my son's Rabbis at a wedding. The Rabbi told me that his father was a follower of the Minchas Yitzchok, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Weiss when both the Minchas Yitzchok and the father were living in England. Later, both moved to Israel, and Rav Weiss became the chief judge of the Rabbinical Court of the Eda Charedis, an anti-Zionist Charedi ('ultra-Orthodox') organization. The Rabbi's father asked the Minchas Yitzchok for whom to vote in the election. The Minchas Yitzchok told him to vote for any religious party. The Rabbi's father responded, "but Rebbe, I see advertisements from you urging people not to vote in the elections at all." (As a true anti-Zionist organization, the Eda opposes participation in the elections). Rav Weiss answered him, "that's for them. But for you, you should vote. But vote only for a religious party."
I heard that story about five or six years ago. Now I think I understand why the Minchas Yitzchok said what he did.
Those of you who think I'm wrong are invited to try to convince me otherwise.