“The fight for democracy is taking place today within the Likud: between Ruby Rivlin, Michael Eitan and Dan Meridor on one side, and Yariv Levin, Zeev Elkin, Danny Danon and all those who are – conditionally, of course – on [Moshe] Feiglin’s endorsed list on the other.”
In a long and reasoned article published recently on Israel’s most popular news site, Ynet, Labor Party activist Dr. Itai Asher explains how the Likud has become the arena for the battle over the future of the State of Israel: a battle between “democracy” and the “Feiglinites.”
In principle, Dr. Asher is right. Manhigut Yehudit helped shape the Likud’s Knesset roster, aligning it more with the national camp’s ideology. But a quick look at the list of names that Dr. Asher cites shows that the “battle for democracy” (in his words) is not being fought between different endorsed groups alone. Its roots go much deeper.
Ruby Rivlin, for example, was on the Manhigut Yehudit-endorsed candidates list. If so, how is it that Rivlin opposes the new law proposals requiring a Knesset hearing for candidates for the Supreme Court and imposing stiff fines for libel? On the other hand, Elkin, who got into the Knesset as a Netanyahu candidate, is working hard to get the proposals passed. How can it be that Elkin has positioned himself in the “dark Feiglinite dictatorship” – in the words of opposition leader Tzipi Livni?
Rivlin, Eitan and Meridor are all part of the veteran generation of the Likud. Their actions are dictated by the old Likud mentality. Levin, Elkin and Danon belong to the new generation in the Likud. They represent the mentality of the future that is developing within the national ruling party.
More than Manhigut Yehudit influences the makeup of the party roster. It influences the vision of the Likud and the perspective of its members. My repeated candidacies for leadership of the Likud planted the option for different values in the nationalist ruling party. No more existence for its own sake that sees the “peace process” as its ultimate dream, preventing the Likud from following any path other than Oslo. Instead, Manhigut Yehudit has infused the Likud with a sense of destiny for which it is sometimes worthwhile to sacrifice one’s individual existence. It is a destiny that frees the national camp from its psychological dependence on the Left.
My candidacy for leadership of the Likud opened the gates for a steady stream of faith-based voters, who voted for the MKs who are working hard today to liberate the Jewish majority from the grip of the Left’s two main ruling tools: the courts and the media. It is no coincidence that the latest legislative proposals focus on these two tenets. The courts and the media are the long arms of the Left. They sustain Israel’s dubious “democracy.”
The generation of Rivlin, Eitan and Meridor did not come of age with Manhigut Yehudit in the Likud. They have made peace with the leftist hegemony. We have all gotten used to the fact that when you vote Left you get Left, and when you vote Right, you get double Left. The veteran politicians cannot internalize the thought that the Likud can develop its own sense of legitimacy, adopt a path that deviates from what the Left dictates, and simply insist on ruling. Ironically, they see the new internal liberty as straying from Jabotinsky’s principles.
Levin, Elkin and Danon, on the other hand, draw the courage to face off against the Supreme Court and the media from the new sense of destiny and from the masses of faith-based voters who have joined the Likud. True, the Likud and the new MKs have not yet connected to the faith-based vision. That will still take some time. But the new sense of destiny has already created a new reality. It exudes self-confidence, creates independence, and straightens the back of the national camp. And it is bearing fruit.
From our vantage point within this process, it is sometimes hard to appreciate what has happened. It is not always easy to identify the process that begins with the faith-based vision and candidacy for leadership of the Likud to mass faith-based membership in the Likud and then on to the recent legislative proposals.
To understand what is taking place here, we must look to the Left. They are not talking about a Lieberman or Marzelite dictatorship, but rather a “Feiglinite tyranny.” They easily discovered the precise source of the process that threatens to liberate the Jewish majority from their generations-long grip. They understand where it came from and where it is going much better than all the rightists. They have identified the source – and that is where they are taking aim.