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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday's internal Likud vote: An indication?

The Likud's Central Committee will vote on Thursday on an amendment to its charter that would allow Prime Minister Netanyahu to avoid internal party elections (for the party's central committee) for three years. The amendment is being opposed by Moshe Feiglin's Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction, which believes that if internal elections are held now, its strength within the Likud will grow. Netanyahu is arguing for the amendment because he says that he wants to add to the Likud's membership rolls before holding elections - in other words, he wants to keep Feiglin out and flood the party with 'centrists.'

I am a member of both the Likud and Manhigut. I am not a member of the Central Committee. I was invited to participate in a conference call on Wednesday night at 10:00 for guidance on soliciting votes for Thursday. Shortly after 10:00 I got an email saying that the response was so overwhelming that the conference call collapsed. The guidance was posted to Manhigut's website at 11:00 here (it's in Hebrew).

If enthusiasm is any guide, Netanyahu is going to go down to a stunning defeat on Thursday.


At 1:18 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I hope he does. With new elections, Manhigut Yehudit should probably win a majority of the seats on the party's policy-making Central Committee. That will limit Prime Minister Netanyahu's maneuvering room and unlike Sharon, he really has no place to go if the party demands the freeze in Yesha and Jerusalem be ended and Jerusalem be kept united. We can only pray that Netanyahu's motion is defeated and the party holds new elections on schedule.

At 4:43 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

I hope you are right. Norman hit the nail on the head. This can keep the left at bay and Jerusalem whole.

At 5:13 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There is now a greater sense of political rationality on Israel's Right. For over a decade, it has been its own worst enemy. Evelyn Gordon points out that Israeli rightists wasting their votes on minor parties deprived the Likud in 1992 of the chance to form the government, which would have averted the Oslo disaster and the Rabin assassination. They did it again in 1999, resulting in the election of Ehud Barak which led to the rise of Hezbollah and the Second Intifada. She says the Right is finally learning the lesson about working to influence and change the Likud from within rather than wasting their energies on small fringe parties that have no change of ever winning an election in Israel.

The logic of this is quite evident in what Gordon writes here:

"This still doesn’t solve the problem of splinter voting, since joining Likud doesn’t oblige one to vote for it. Yet large-scale party membership carries its own dynamic: if those rightists who previously shunned Likud instead start working from within it, the party will presumably become more responsive to their needs, thus encouraging more of them to vote for it."

"That in turn could promote more effective government. Israel’s current governing coalition comprises six different parties, with Likud commanding barely a third of its seats, and these parties’ disagreements have led to paralysis on many issues. A government composed of a larger Likud with fewer coalition partners would presumably find it easier to push through vital domestic initiatives."

"That still remains a distant dream. But the first step is for rightists to understand that they need to work from within Likud rather than outside it. And it seems that is finally starting to happen."

That is exactly why religious Zionists in particular are far better off with a stronger Likud in which their interests are represented and they wield real clout than to cluster their numbers in small parties outside the government that have no real influence at all. Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit realize the Likud is too important to be abandoned to the likes of Netanyahu and his supporters. Indeed, the battle for the Likud's soul is the battle for the future of the State Of Israel and for the future of Jerusalem.

More here: Israel's Right Discovers Political Sanity

Read it all

At 7:10 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Moshe's Feiglin's faction may well be the future of the Likud. According to Maya Bengal of Israel Radio's Reshet Bet, there are these facts:

"They called them "parasites," "leeches," and "provocations" but the time has come to admit the truth: Moshe Feiglin and the "Feiglinites" are the Likud. They are not a foreign influence. Twelve years have passed since Feiglin joined the Likud and since then, he has become more and more powerful. MK's woo him, the Likud Central Committee members stream to him, everyone wants to bask in his shade."

"The attempts by Binyamin Netanyahu to expel him from the movement, to weaken him, to scare others with his name – have resoundingly failed. Ladies and gentlemen, Feiglin is a Likudnik. "Manhigut Yehudit" is alive and kicking in the Likud. This man has succeeded in garnering 23% support in the primaries for leadership of the movement in 2006. 23%! With such an impressive result it is clear that the man is in the Likud to stay."

"So Feiglin is not robbing the Likud, he is conquering it. The positions that Feiglin represents – like "Jerusalem for eternity" and "not one inch" are no longer extreme. They are in the consensus. Here's the proof – Gilad Ardan, Silvan Shalom and Bogey Ya'alon also think that the Palestinians are not partners and that there is nothing to talk about and they will certainly strongly oppose the evacuation of settlements."

"This man is teaching Bibi the facts of life. He is playing the democratic game. He wants elections for the party institutions in their proper time. It is Bibi who does not want them and who is exerting tremendous efforts to postpone them. He is afraid to reveal what he knows: The radical right wing of the Likud will get even stronger. Just imagine if the prime minister of Israel would want to continue his Knesset term for four more years and would propose legislation to cancel the general elections. What would we do then? We would climb the barricades and not rest until we would force elections – because democracy, even if it is not convenient for the head of the movement, cannot be surrendered. Or, as Churchill said: It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

Israel's leftists who hate Netanyahu cannot but bring themselves to admire his challenger, who together with his associate Shmuel Sackett in "Zo Artzeinu" paid the price for opposing Oslo by being imprisoned by the state. He isn't a politician but an honest man possessed by a courage and depth of conviction no one else in Israeli politics has and who truly believes in what he says and who has core beliefs for which he is prepared to fight - and they will win in the end even if he loses the vote in the Likud Central Committee. Just by posing a challenge to a sitting Prime Minister, Manhigut Yehudit has already changed the Likud. The only question is when it will change Israel. In this I believe the answer is an idea whose time has come will arrive and there is no longer any obstacle to it sweeping Israel. Its opponents have no answers - they have only fear and demagoguery and that will not be enough to stop it.

Feiglin is truly the man of the hour in Israel.


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