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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Feiglin vindicated?

Some of you may recall that a little more than a year ago, I did an interview with Moshe Feiglin (one-on-one) that I wrote up here. For those of you who are relatively new and have not read it, it's probably worth reading. For now, I'm just going to cut and paste one small quote.

I asked Moshe why he joined the Likud rather than start a new party. He said he was going to speak about that at the dinner we were both attending that night, rather than answering me individually. Here's what he said about it at the dinner:
On the question of why he came to the Likud and did not start (or head) another party, he gave an analogy from Jewish law of how milk and meat (which are prohibited from being eaten together under Jewish law) that are mixed together can become Kosher. In a nutshell, the only way it can happen is if there is a massive infusion of one that overwhelms the other.
It's been a long battle to reach the point where the part Feiglin represents - the Jewishly committed part - is going to overwhelm the rest of the Likud. But there are small indications that others are coming around to Feiglin's viewpoint.
So it was encouraging to read the following notice in a local newsletter (Hebrew only) published by the West Bank settlement of Eli: “After much thought, it has been decided by the [Givat Hayovel neighborhood] committee, the town council and rabbis, with backing from senior officials involved in the matter, to register people for Likud. Likud is the ruling party, and that is where we need to have an influence. … Joining Likud is the most effective way of influencing ministers and Knesset members to work with us on both the court case and other matters of importance to the town.”

Granted, Eli is only one settlement, and its decision stems from a very specific problem: the aforementioned court case, in which Peace Now is seeking a court order to raze Givat Hayovel on the grounds that it was built illegally. Eli contends that the neighborhood, built with massive government support, was always slated for legalization and needs only the final government permits — hence its quest for lobbying clout.

Nevertheless, this is a revolution. During Likud’s last membership drive, in 2008, a party activist who canvassed Eli and other settlements using this very same argument told me despairingly that most people didn’t get it. Now it is being promoted by the town’s entire political and religious leadership.

Moreover, many other settlements face similar problems with permits. So if Eli has reached this conclusion, it’s likely that other settlements are or will be doing the same.


At 4:33 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I think a lot of religious Zonists are coming to the conclusion they must join mainstream Israeli society in order to safeguard their interests and change its character. This is simply political sanity and the Israeli Right has never been known for common sense. Its engaged in one self-defeating move after another that has led to disaster. What Feiglin has got going for him is not mere numbers but an idea and all his opponents have is fear and demagoguery. They have no real answer to what he says. And passion of this sort has always changed the world far more than numbers alone.

At 1:44 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

UPDATE: Feiglin lost the vote - as expected. The elections have been put off. But its clear that Netanyahu fears opposition from only one place and that is within the party. A battle was lost today but it is clear Manhigut Yehudit is a force to be reckoned with within the Likud.

Its time will come.


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